Campaign finance reports are finally in from all ballot questions committees that circulated petitions in 2019. Let’s compare the successful petition drives with my own failed efforts:
|Ballot Question Committee/petitions circulated||signatures collected||error rate||expenditures||cost per sig|
|SD Voice: PPI+HB 1094 Ref||10,100
|New Approach SD: IM 26 (medical marijuana)||34,192
(official SOS count)
|SD for Better Marijuana Laws: Amendment A (all marijuana + hemp)||53,400
(official SOS count)
- People Power Initiative and HB 1094 Referendum expenditures do not include $10,743 refunded to donors after I ended the initiative petition drive in early October.
- Initiated Measure 26 expenditures include in-kind donations of $10,000 for office space from Eberts Property Management and $252,616.78 in signature-gathering services from the Amendment A committee.
- Amendment A expenditures include donated services from the Marijuana Policy Project and the New Approach PAC from Washington, D.C.
The successful petition drives spent 3.7 to 7.9 times more per signature than my ballot question committee did. The lesson from 2019’s empirical data is that if you plan to put a measure on the South Dakota ballot, plan to spend six figures.
Where did those six-figure budgets come from?
- 33% of the itemized money SD Voice raised came from donors with out-of-state addresses. All of those donors, I believe, are South Dakota ex-pats.
- Only 0.3% of the itemized donations (cash and in-kind) IM 26 received came from donors with out-of-state addresses. But 96.4% of IM 26’s finances came in the form of donated services from the Amendment A committee, and…
- 96% of the itemized money and in-kind services Amendment A received came from donors with out-of-state addresses. The D.C. New Approach PAC made up most of that money, with $922,968.26 in cash and donated services. According to IRS 8872 filings, New Approach PAC’s funders in 2019 included the following:
|Donor||Location||2019 Aggregate Donations|
|Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps||Vista, CA||$950,000.00|
|Scotts Company||Marysville, OH||$350,000.00|
|Phil Harvey||Washington, DC||$100,000.00|
|Henry Van Ameringen||New York, NY||$1,000,000.00|
The two measures that made the 2020 ballot depended almost entirely on support from out-of-state donors. G. Mark Mickelson tried to outlaw such out-of-state support with Initiated Measure 24, but thanks to my successful lawsuit against IM 24 last spring, a federal court overturned that unconstitutional ban on free speech and you get to vote on those two ballot measures this November.