Group to boost funding for open primaries campaign

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – A national nonprofit has pledged $140,000 to help supporters of a South Dakota top-two open primaries constitutional amendment gather signatures to get on the 2018 ballot.

New York-based Open Primaries spokesman Jeremy Gruber says the group is ``very supportive'' of the coalition of Republicans, Democrats and independents assembled to pursue the South Dakota amendment.

Campaign chairman Joe Kirby, of Sioux Falls, says backers hope to start collecting signatures around Sept. 1. They must submit nearly 28,000 valid signatures to the secretary of state by November 2017 for the amendment to appear on the 2018 ballot.

Campaign treasurer De Knudson says it's a ``gargantuan'' task.

The proposal would apply to primaries for county offices, Legislature, governor and U.S. House and Senate. The push comes after a similar amendment failed at the polls last year