The NCSL Blog


By Christi Zamarripa

For some of us—now that the Thanksgiving dinner has been consumed and digested, Black Friday shopping is over and Cyber Monday sales are underway—there's no better time to discuss money and finances.

cash going into ballot box(It’s now safe to talk about the elections and politics with family and friends, right?) So, let's discuss how four states passed campaign finance-related measures in 2018.  

Voters were presented with the possibility to create policy change for six ballots measures in five states. The voters passed four measures. Below are a few details on the four approved measures:

  • Arizona: Grand Canyon State voters approved Proposition 306, which made changes to the Citizens Clean Elections Act. The act is a voluntary public financing system for candidates and enforces financial reporting rules for money in campaigns and elections for statewide and state legislative offices. It prohibits candidates who receive money from the Clean Elections fund from giving direct or indirect funds to either political parties or tax-exempt 501 organizations who engage in actions to influence elections. Also, it changes the rulemaking process. Previously, the Citizens Clean Election Commission was empowered to adopt its own rules to govern the commission. Now, it requires the commission to receive approval from the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council to finalize rules for the public financing system.
  • Missouri: Show-Me State voters approved Amendment 1, an initiative that addresses redistricting, lobbying and campaign finance issues. With regards to campaign finance, the amendment changes limits on campaign contributions that candidates for state legislature can accept from individuals or entities. Contributions would be capped at $2,500 for a state senate candidate and $2,000 for a house candidate per election cycle. The amendment also makes it illegal to donate money under a fake name, another person’s name or through another person. More importantly, the amendment bans the state legislature from passing any law allowing for unlimited contributions.
  • North Dakota: Peace Garden State voters approved Constitutional Measure 1, which addresses ethics, lobbying and campaign finance. Regarding campaign finance, this measure requires any person who spent more than $200 in a statewide election, election for the General Assembly, or any "state government action" to disclose the sources of the funds. The legislature is tasked to enact laws regarding this disclosure provision and to give each resident taxpayer the right to initiate a lawsuit to enforce the measure's disclosure requirements. In addition, this measure prohibits candidates from spending campaign contributions for personal benefit and prohibits foreign entities from making contributions or expenditures in connection with elections.
  • South Dakota: Mount Rushmore State voters approved Measure 24, which addresses an issue that many states consider: out-of-state contributions. It prohibits contributions to statewide ballot question committees by non-residents, PACs organized outside South Dakota, and any entity that is not filed as an entity with the secretary of state for the four years prior to making a contribution. The measure allows the secretary of state to investigate alleged violations and to impose a civil penalty (double the amount of the contribution) on any ballot question committee that accepts a prohibited contribution.

For more information on statewide ballot measures, take a look at NCSL’s State Ballot Measures database. Also, check out NCSL’s Campaign Finance database which lists all campaign finance-related laws introduced in recent years.

Christi Zamarripa is a policy associate with NCSL’s Elections and Redistricting Program.

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This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.