Student hopes to see SD House of Rep. age requirements change

Jill Fier

Jill Fier

Stephanie Chase isn’t the kind of person who sits around waiting for things to happen.

The freshman and Brookings native comes from a very political family. Her great-grandfather was a state senator and she has been volunteering for political campaigns since the sixth grade.

It was that influence that made her decide to take action for what she believes in.

Chase said that she was talking with her father last December about the possibillity of running for the state legislature in the future. She even began talking to area organizations about steps she would need to take to run. But she ran into problems after checking the state constitution for requirements to run for the legislature.

“Everyone just sort of assumed that you had to be 18 to run, and I found out that you had to be 21 to run for the state legislature, or 21 when you take office,” Chase said.

“I was really upset that I couldn’t run, so I decided that rather than just forgetting about it, I might as well do something about it because I don’t know anyone else that’s doing anything.”

Chase is now starting to organize a campaign to pass a ballot initiative that will hopefully change that age requirement from 21 to 18.

Before an initiative even gets onto a ballot, Chase said she must get signatures from 10 percent of the population that voted in the last gubinatorial election.

She also said she knows there will be a lot of legal work involved with the entire process, so she hopes to work with the South Dakota Farmers’ Union because of their past experience with ballot initiatives.

Chase said she knows she is taking on a lot of work, and she hopes other people her age will be able to help.

“What I want to do is talk to a lot of organizations on campus, as well as at other campuses, like USD, NSU and Augie.

I want to get a statewide effort going because I think it’s really important that people who are 18 to 21 realize that they’re essentially being taxed without representation, and that’s really an unfortunate thing,” she said.

“My goal here is to hopefully get a statewide coalition going. Hopefully this is not too ambitious, but I think that I can do it and I think that I can find some committed people at the university. It’s not a partisan issue or anything, it applies to all young voters,” Chase said.