- Associated Press - Friday, October 28, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - State campaign finance reports released Friday show that at least three groups backing South Dakota ballot measures have taken in over $1 million each since late May.

The reports, which cover May 24 through Oct. 24 in most cases, offer a comprehensive peek into campaigns’ finances before Election Day. Here’s a look at what they contain:

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BIG BUCKS FOR PUBLIC FUNDING

A group backing a ballot measure that would let South Dakota voters earmark public money for political candidates raised roughly $1.3 million - more than double what opponents raised.

South Dakotans for Integrity took in roughly $664,000 from individuals and nearly $690,000 in cash and in-kind contributions from Represent.Us, an organization working to reduce the influence of money in politics.

A group opposing Initiated Measure 22 raised nearly $650,000, including over $625,000 in cash and in-kind contributions from Americans for Prosperity, a conservative think tank backed by the billionaire philanthropist Koch brothers, David and Charles.

The measure would allow voters to tap a state fund to send two $50 credits to participating political candidates, tighten campaign finance and lobbying laws and create an ethics commission.

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OPEN YOUR PRIMARIES

Another group that topped $1 million in fundraising, Vote Yes On V is backing a constitutional amendment that would remove candidates’ party affiliations from primary and general election ballots.

The group, which has about $650,000 in the bank, took in roughly $1.2 million in cash and in-kind contributions, including about $820,000 in cash from the New York nonprofit Open Primaries.

Supporters far outraised opposition group No on Amendment V, which brought in roughly $143,000 in cash and in-kind contributions.

Constitutional Amendment V would establish a nonpartisan primary that would send the top vote-getters to the general election; it wouldn’t apply to presidential races.

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MARSY’S LAW

California businessman Henry Nicholas put roughly $1.2 million into a measure that would incorporate crime victims’ rights provisions into the state constitution.

Marsy’s Law for South Dakota LLC spent over $900,000 on advertising and ended the reporting period with more than $300,000 in the bank. A group opposing the measure raised under $6,000.

The amendment is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas, who was killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Her brother, Henry Nicholas, is bankrolling an effort to expand it into more states.

The amendment would establish constitutional rights for crime victims including privacy, protection from harassment or abuse, and timely notice of trial, sentencing and post-judgment proceedings. Victims would have the right to be notified of the escape or release of the accused and to offer input during the case.

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LABORING ON

Supporters of a labor-backed ballot measure that would allow unions to charge fees to nonmembers have brought in more than $620,000.

South Dakotans for Fairness spent nearly all it raised, including nearly $400,000 on advertising. The political committee’s sole reported financier was Illinois-based Americans for Fairness.

South Dakotans for Freedom and Jobs, a group opposing the measure, took in over $146,000, nearly all from the Virginia-based National Right to Work Committee. Another opposition group, No on 23, brought in roughly the same amount. That leaves foes at a disadvantage in the money race.

Advocates say Initiated Measure 23 would fix unfairness in state law because it would require that nonmembers pay for union services that benefit them. Opponents say it’s designed to allow unions to circumvent South Dakota’s right-to-work law.

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T-ING OFF

Supporters of an independent redistricting amendment brought in over $250,000 in cash and in-kind contributions. The ballot committee supporting Constitutional Amendment T spent almost everything it raised. Over $80,000 went to advertising.

The amendment would create an independent commission of nine people chosen each redistricting year to revise the state’s legislative districts. Right now, the Legislature sets the political boundaries.

Backers say the measure would eliminate lawmakers’ conflict of interest and make people feel elections are fair to all parties. Opponents - including majority Republicans - say the current system is working fine and that the push is meant to tip the political balance toward Democrats.

A campaign finance report wasn’t immediately available for an opposition group.

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