Between the Lines

Between the Lines By David Lias "So, how are you going to vote on the video lottery?"

The question, pitched to me from an acquaintance as we literally ran into each other at the grocery store, had me scrambling back, back, back to the warning track as I tried to field it.

I gathered my thoughts and began voicing a response that sounded like it was coming from the mouth of a politician. I reasoned at the time that my friend wanted to know where I stood, politically, on the issue.

Actually, she was looking for advice of a different kind.

"No, I don't want to know that," she said. "What I want to know is, if I'm in favor of the lottery, do I vote yes or no?"

"Well, I would think you vote yes," I replied, remembering that in this column on Oct. 13, I implored all citizens to do their homework before Nov. 7 so they have a full understanding of the various referendums and the initiative that will be included on our ballots.

"So does voting no mean you want to keep the lottery?" she asked.

I gathered my thoughts once again. I had read about the various ballot issues until I was blue in the face.

I looked in her in the eye, and admitted that I had no idea.

So much for following one's own advice. Studying the rather complicated issues that will be thrust before us in voting booths Nov. 7 is one thing.

Knowing the proper way to vote on those issues is another.

It may not matter that you've made your mind up beyond a shadow of a doubt on the various amendments.

Having headstrong opinions on the fate of video lottery or the death tax does no good when you don't know the proper way to express them in the polls.

Let's take a closer look at Amendment D, which will determine whether video lottery continues in South Dakota.

Voting yes on Amendment D is the way to say no to video lottery. Amendment D is a repeal of a previous amendment, so a yes vote will help stop a form of gambling set in motion 11 years ago.

A no vote on Amendment D will keep video lottery casinos open all over the state.

Another yes vote, on Amendment C, says no to the inheritance tax.

The South Dakota Family Policy Council, based in Sioux Falls, notes that some people call this tax justice, while others call it the death tax.

Voting no is a way to say yes to South Dakota's inheritance tax. If Amendment C passes, the inheritance tax in South Dakota will end in July 2001.

The South Dakota Family Council notes that sometimes yes does mean no, and in an important election year like this one, knowing the difference is crucial.

Next Tuesday will be a decisive day for not only the nation, but for South Dakota. Citizens in the state will determine not only the fate of video lottery and the inheritance tax, they will also consider the future of gambling around the state when they vote on Initiated Measure 1.

On this measure, a yes vote will increase the bet limits from $5 to $100 in Deadwood and reservation casinos throughout the state, and a no vote will keep the bet limits the same.

In this week's issue of the Plain Talk and Wakonda Times, readers will find duplicates of the ballots they will find in voting booths Nov. 7.

We urge all of our readers to study them closely. By reading the fine print, citizens will discover that the ballots include instructions that help explain what the consequences of their votes on the various issues will be.

That fine print could very easily be missed on Tuesday, especially if you're a young mother standing in the voting booth with a toddler pulling on your leg, or a farmer using a few precious moments to stop harvest work long enough to cast your ballot.

Election polls in all voting precincts in Clay County will open at 8 a.m. Nov. 7. They close at 8 p.m. That may seem like a long time, but for many citizens and their hectic lifestyles, it may barely be enough time.

That's why it's important to remember that, in some instances next Tuesday, yes will mean no.

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