Two organizations that urged supporters to donate money to a ballot committee that is promoting a constitutional amendment in South Dakota denied Thursday that they broke state campaign finance laws. The Vote Yes on V campaign took contributions from two outside groups, Open Primaries and TakeItBack.org, that raised and collected money explicitly to back the ballot measure. While outside groups are free to donate money to ballot committees like Yes on V, state law forbids those organizations from contributing money that was “raised or collected by the organization for the purpose of influencing the ballot question.” In at least two instances, Open Primaries and TakeItBack.org solicited donations citing their efforts to fund the South Dakota amendment, said Will Mortenson, the chairman of Vote No on V. In an email last month, Open Primaries urged its supporters to donate money to Vote Yes on V, which the group promised to match two-to-one to help fund Vote Yes on V television ads. TakeItBack.org also released an email to supporters this week endorsing Amendment V.
If it passes, Amendment V would eliminate political party labels for local, state and federal elections. It would also create an open primary in which all candidates for offices would compete. The top vote getters, regardless of political party, would then compete in the general election. The amendment would also enable roughly 115,000 registered independents to participate in the open primary. Currently, independents cannot vote in Republican Party primary races.
Besides opening the process to more voters, supporters say it would reduce gridlock and lead to better, less ideologically extreme candidates and elected officials.
But opponents say Amendment V removes transparency from the voting process by hiding party affiliation from voters.
Full Article: Amendment V groups clash over campaign finance accusation.