South Carolina voters to consider 2 constitutional questions on Tuesday's ballot

Nonprofits and charity raffles up for vote

By Susanne M. Schafer
The Augusta Chronicle

COLUMBIA — There are two questions on Tuesday’s ballot about changing South Carolina’s Constitution.
The first asks whether nonprofit organizations should be allowed to hold a limited number of charity raffles. The second asks whether the governor should appoint the state’s adjutant general, who is in charge of its National Guard, its military department and emergency management division. At present, the post is chosen by popular ballot.

SHOULD CHARITY RAFFLES BE LEGAL? Under a measure approved by lawmakers in 2013, voters are being asked whether nonprofits can hold a limited number of legal charity raffles in South Caro­lina.

Though church cake walks and school raffles are commonplace, the only legal raffle is the state lottery. Enforce­ment depends largely on whether someone complains to police. The state is among just four nationwide where raffles are illegal.

If voters say “yes,” the law approved by the General Assembly lays out how schools, churches and other nonprofits can properly hold raffles.

The maximum ticket cost is set at $100. The total value of prizes is capped at $250,000 per raffle.
Nonprofits registered with the secretary of state could hold up to four raffles a year. Nonprofits that raffle off a non-cash prize worth less than $500 wouldn’t have to register with the state – an exemption intended to allow garden clubs or other civic groups to hold an occasional raffle.

The events could begin in 2015. However, raffles would become illegal again in 2020 unless the Legislature reauthorizes them. If the ballot measure is approved, no action is required by Gov. Nikki Haley.