SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota voters rejected most of the 10 measures on the ballot Tuesday, but they did come out in favor of publicly funding political candidates, capping short-term loan interest rates and incorporating victims’ rights provisions into the state constitution.Voters defeated at least six initiatives, while another faced an uncertain fate.GOP candidates easily swept statewide races and kept control of the state Legislature in heavily Republican South Dakota.___
A ballot measure approved Tuesday will allow voters to tap a state fund to send two $50 credits to participating political candidates. It also will tighten campaign finance and lobbying laws and create an ethics commission. Don Frankenfeld, a former GOP state senator who co-chairs the main group backing the plan, said in a statement that the measure will help take control of government back from special interests. Opponents said they would work to overturn the measure and protect taxpayers from the new law.
Two other proposals that would also have reshaped South Dakota politics failed at the polls. One rejected measure would have dropped party labels from ballots, setting up nonpartisan primaries that would have sent the top vote-getters to the general election. The other would have taken control of legislative redistricting from lawmakers and given it to an independent commission.
South Dakotans voted to cap interest rates charged by businesses such as payday, auto title and installment lenders licensed in South Dakota to 36 percent annually. They also shot down a measure funded by a Georgia-based lender that would have amended the state constitution to let lenders charge any interest rate that a borrower agreed to in writing.
Steve Hildebrand, a sponsor of the interest rate cap, said it will give low-income people a better chance of getting out of poverty.
Voters approved a measure to establish rights in the state constitution for victims including privacy, protection from harassment or abuse, and timely notice of trial, sentencing and post-judgment proceedings.
The law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas, who was killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Marsy’s Law for South Dakota Chairman Jason Glodt said “the scales of justice were weighted in favor of the accused” before the measure was approved.
OTHER BALLOT QUESTIONS
Voters defeated a labor-backed initiative that would have let unions charge fees to non-members, something opponents said was designed to get around the state’s right-to-work law.
They also rejected two other measures. One would have established a youth minimum wage of $7.50 an hour for workers under 18. The other was a bundle of election law changes that included different filing deadlines and signature gathering requirements.
A constitutional amendment that would make it clear that South Dakota’s four technical institutes are independent from the Board of Regents had an uncertain fate.
GOP WINS TOP-TIER RACES
Donald Trump followed Republican presidential candidates’ winning record in South Dakota, which hasn’t supported a Democrat for president since 1964. He won without holding any rallies in South Dakota during the campaign.
Voters sent Sen. John Thune and Rep. Kristi Noem back to Washington. The Republican lawmakers benefited from the South Dakota GOP’s enormous voter registration advantage over Democrats in triumphing over Senate candidate Jay Williams and House hopeful Paula Hawks.
GOP Public Utilities Commissioner Chris Nelson beat Oglala Sioux green energy entrepreneur Henry Red Cloud to rejoin the panel.
REPUBLICANS KEEP STATEHOUSE
The GOP held on to control of the state House and Senate, which means Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard will work with lawmakers from his party on budgeting and policymaking for the final two years of his second term.
Sioux Falls resident Judy Harig on Tuesday said she voted in favor of the measure to cap payday loan rates because she believes borrowers can be “manipulated” in a time of need.
“If you are desperate to buy groceries, they can really take advantage of somebody,” Harig, a 69-year-old retiree, said after voting at a Sioux Falls elementary school.
Lynetta McEachern voted for Donald Trump Tuesday at an elementary school in Sioux Falls. McEachern, 48, said she supported Trump from the beginning of his campaign because she believed he was “the most qualified” candidate.
“Our country needs to go in a different direction; we need to try something new,” said McEachern, who couldn’t attend any of Trump’s rallies but said she teared up when watching them on TV. “I think he can work with people. He knows how to negotiate. I know he can work with other countries.”