To the Editor,

To the Editor,

We write to encourage bi-partisan support for Amendment A authorizing merit selection of circuit judges and for retention elections.

If passed, Amendment A would require an evaluation process that will inform the public in advance of an election as to how a judge is performing in the office. A committee of respected judges and lawyers of this state have been charged with the responsibility of recommending an evaluation model.

Our state’s judges have to be independent, fair and impartial. Money, politics, partisanship and influence of third-party interest groups should have no place in selection or retention of judges. Campaign financing of judicial elections would likely entail direct solicitations by candidates, which could very well impact their impartiality, fairness and independence.

South Dakota already has merit selection for Supreme Court Justices and Circuit Court vacancies. Amendment A merely extends that process to all Circuit Court positions.

Judge selection should be based upon merit, not upon money, popularity, politics or any other such criteria. Please vote for passage of Amendment A.

/s/ Ralph A. Kemnitz

Ralph A. Kemnitz

/s/ Gay R. Tollefson

Gay R. Tollefson

Philip, SD 57567