In November, voters in South Dakota will be voting on a rewrite of the state’s campaign finance laws known as Initiated Measure 22. With its strict regulations on campaign contribution disclosures, supporters are selling the law as an anti-corruption measure.
However, the most curious aspect of the proposed law is its provision for a publicly funded campaign finance program.
Dubbed with the Orwellian-sounding name of “Democracy Credits”, Measure 22 would create a program whereby the state government would send every resident of the state two fifty-dollar vouchers at the beginning of the year. Residents could then give these vouchers to any candidate or campaign that they wish. However, the program does not come without some serious caveats.
Candidates who choose to participate in the program will be severely limited in the size of the contributions that they can collect outside the voucher program. Candidates for the state assembly would be…