Special Questions Weigh down South Dakota Ballot
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Ten ballot measures, some with some big consequences, are the main feature Tuesday for voters casting ballots in heavily Republican South Dakota. People will also choose their next congresswoman, U.S. senator and whether they think the GOP should take control of the White House — and the Statehouse.
Here's a look at some of the races voters will decide:
Voters could choose to dramatically rewrite South Dakota's political playbook with a trio of ballot measures — all opposed by Republicans.
One measure would create an ethics commission, tighten campaign finance laws and establish a public campaign finance system. A second would drop party labels from ballots, setting up nonpartisan primaries that send the top vote-getters to the general election. Presidential races would still look the same, though.
The third would take control of legislative redistricting from lawmakers and give it to an independent commission, which supporters say is fairer. People opposing it think that the current system works fine.
A measure with potential national implications that's backed by labor would let unions charge fees of non-members, something opponents say is designed to get around the state's right-to-work law. Supporters think it makes sense that people who get benefits from unions pay for them.
Payday lending is on the ballot in two different questions, which could be confusing. One measure would cap interest rates charged by businesses such as payday, auto title and installment lenders at 36 percent annually. Another measure — funded by a Georgia-based car title lender — would let lenders charge any interest rate that a borrower agrees to in writing. Loans without written agreements would be capped at 18 percent annually.
And a proposed constitutional 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.
TRUMP THE LIKELY PICK
Donald Trump shouldn't have to sweat South Dakota, which hasn't supported a Democrat since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. The GOP presidential nominee is poised to capture the heavily Republican state's three electoral votes without having held any rallies in South Dakota over the course of the campaign.
Hillary Clinton didn't come, either, although former first daughter Chelsea Clinton did.
STATEWIDE CONTESTS TILT RED
Sen. John Thune and Rep. Kristi Noem can feel confident that voters will send them back to Washington. The Republican lawmakers are set to benefit from the South Dakota GOP's enormous voter registration advantage coming off a campaign where the candidates dramatically outraised their Democratic opponents, Senate candidate Jay Williams and House hopeful Paula Hawks.
GOP Public Utilities Commissioner Chris Nelson is expected to fend off a challenge from Oglala Sioux green energy entrepreneur Henry Red Cloud, a Democrat.
Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who isn't on the ballot this year, can expect to work with Republican majorities in the House and Senate for another two years. Republicans now hold 58 of 70 House seats and 27 of 35 Senate seats, two supermajorities they're unlikely to lose.
Voters can use the Secretary of State's Vote605 app to view a sample ballot and find their polling location from their phones. The app also gives people the ability to figure out where they are registered to vote. Polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
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