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Voting & Elections Toolkits

Voter Registration in South Dakota

Eligibility

To register to vote in South Dakota, you must:
  • Be a United States citizen (South Dakota Constitution, Article VII, Section 2)
  • Reside in South Dakota (residency defined)
  • Be at least 18 years old on or before the next election
  • Not currently serving a sentence for a felony conviction which included imprisonment, served or suspended, in an adult penitentiary system
  • Not be judged mentally incompetent by a court of law

 

Voter Information Portal - Check your voter registration, precinct and polling place information
Voter Registration Drive Instructions
Agency Instructions and Forms

 

Felony Convictions On or After July 1, 2012:

Under South Dakota Codified Law § 12-4-18, a person convicted of a felony in either federal or state court on or after July 1, 2012 loses the right to vote. A person so disqualified becomes eligible to register to vote upon completion of his or her entire sentence (must complete probation, parole and restitution). A person who receives a suspended imposition of sentence does not lose the right to vote.

Felony Convictions On or Before June 30, 2012:

Impact of State and Federal Felony Convictions on Voting Rights

Federal

  1. Individuals who are convicted of a felony in federal court and sentenced only to probation retain the right to vote.
  2. Individuals who are convicted of a felony in federal court and sentenced only to pay a fine or restitution retain the right to vote.
  3. Individuals who are convicted of a felony in federal court and sentenced to a term of imprisonment lose the right to vote.  The loss of voting rights continues for as long as the individual is serving a term of imprisonment including supervised release. 

State

  1. Individuals who are convicted in State court of a felony and sentenced only to probation retain the right to vote.  A sentence of probation only may include fines, fees, restitution and other conditions associated with the sentence of probation. 
  2. Individuals who are convicted of a felony in State court and sentenced only to pay a fine or restitution retain the right to vote. 
  3. Individuals who receive a suspended imposition of sentence on a felony in State court retain the right to vote.
  4. Individuals who are convicted in State court of a felony and receive a suspended execution of sentence to the adult state penitentiary system lose the right to vote during the term of the suspended sentence.    
  5. Individuals who are convicted in State court of a felony and receive a sentence to the adult state penitentiary system lose the right to vote during the term of imprisonment.  The loss of voting rights continues as long as the individual is physically incarcerated or on parole. 
  6. Juveniles adjudicated as delinquent or as a child in need of supervision and sentenced to incarceration in a juvenile detention facility retain the right to vote once they have reached eighteen years of age.
 

Deadline for voter registration for the June primary election: May 18, 2020

General election voter registration deadline: October 19,2020.

 

 

 

How to register:
Print the Voter Registration Form, fill-out the form, sign it and then submit it to your County Auditor. Your Voter Registration form with an original signature must be received by the auditor 15 days before any election if you wish to vote in that election. South Dakota law does not allow you to submit your voter registration form via fax or email.

You can use this form to:

  • Register to vote in South Dakota
  • Change your registration name or address
  • Change your party affiliation
  • Cancel your voter registration. You may do this by filling out the bottom portion of the voter registration form.

Download your voter registration form HERE

 

Registration Changes: 

Registered Voter with a Recent Name Change
If you have had a recent name change, we encourage you to update your voter registration. Download a voter registration form by visiting our Voter Registration Page. Please make sure to fill out the bottom portion of the registration form "Previous Voter Registration Information Required." Once completed, please mail the form to your County Auditor.

Wanting to Change Party Affiliation
If you decide to change your party affiliation, you must update your voter registration by completing a voter registration form, then mail or return to your County Auditor.

Wanting to Change Address
If you have had an address change, you must re-register to vote by completing a new voter registration form.  Make sure to fill out the “Previous Voter Registration Information Required” section with your old address.

   

ID Requirements for South Dakota Voters

How to register:

Print the Voter Registration Form, fill-out the form, sign it and then submit it to your County Auditor. Your Voter Registration form with an original signature must be received by the auditor 15 days before any election if you wish to vote in that election. 

South Dakota law does not allow you to submit your voter registration form via fax or email.

 

 

ID Requirements for Voting

 

Bring Identification
All voters who appear at a polling place must show proof of identification (SDCL12-18-6.1). Approved forms of photo identification include:

  • South Dakota driver's license or nondriver ID card
  • U.S. government photo ID (passport is acceptable)
  • U.S. Armed Forces ID
  • Current student photo identification card from a South Dakota high school or South Dakota accredited institution of higher education
  • Tribal photo ID

If you do not have a photo ID, you can sign a personal identification affidavit, and will still be allowed to vote a regular ballot.

If you are voting for the first time and intend to vote by absentee ballot, please visit our absentee voting page.

Am I Registered?
You are not registered to vote until your application has been processed and accepted by your county election official. If accepted, the county election official will send you an acknowledgement Notice. If you do not receive an acknowledgement notice within 15 days of the date you submitted your application, contact your county election official.To check if you are registered, visit the voter information portal. If you are not registered to vote, please visit our voter registration page.

 

Where to get an ID

The South Dakota Department of Public Safety offers resources for obtaining an ID.

IF you’re a non-driver or don’t have a South Dakota Driver’s License, an ID is a useful document.

There’s no age requirement for an ID card, and you can get one by visiting a Driver Licensing location or scheduling an appointment.

To RENEW an ID you will need the following documents:

If you currently have a South Dakota federally compliant card with a gold star in the upper right corner, you may renew up to 180 days prior to your expiration date.  You will need to provide:

  • TWO documents proving your residential/physical address
    • These documents must show your name, your physical/residential address, and be less than one year old.  Examples of such documents are a utility bill, a pay stub, a rent receipt, a phone bill, a bank statement, a mortgage document, a homeowner's insurance policy/bill, a tax document, your vehicle registration, etc. 
      • If you use a PO Box, one of your address documents can show that address; however, your other address document MUST show your physical/residential address.

 

New Applicants and Transfers from Out of State:

If you are a new applicant, a non-U.S. citizen, or a transfer from another state, you must provide proof of lawful status in the United States by providing a certified U.S. birth certificate (state certified only -- photocopies and hospital-issued certificates will not be accepted), a valid, non-expired U.S. Passport/Passport Card, a Certificate of Citizenship/Naturalization, a Permanent Resident Card, an Employment Authorization Card, or a Foreign Passport with a U.S. Visa/I-94.  If you were born in a U.S. Territory, you'll need to provide a valid, non-expired U.S. Passport/Passport Card or a Consular Report of Birth Abroad instead of a birth certificate.

If you are a new applicant or a transfer from another state and your current driver license DOES NOT have a gold star in the upper corner, you will also be required to provide, your Social Security Card (showing your full social security number), a W-2 (showing your full social security number), a 1099 (showing your full social security number), or a pay stub (showing your full social security number).  We can only accept original documents.  No photocopies!

All applicants are required to provide two documents proving your residential/physical address.   These documents must show your full name, your physical/residential address, and be less than one year old.  Examples of such documents are a utility bill, a pay stub, a rent receipt, a phone bill, a bank statement, a mortgage document, a homeowner's insurance policy/bill, a tax document, your vehicle registration, etc. 

 

Casting a Ballot in South Dakota

Important Dates for South Dakota elections, 2020:

 2020 Primary Election - June 2, 2020
Absentee voting begins - April 17, 2020
Voter Registration Deadline - May 18, 2020


2020 General Election - November 3, 2020
Absentee voting begins - September 18, 2020
Voter Registration Deadline - October 19, 2020

Click here for the 2020 Election Calendar

2020 Information on South Dakota Elections Handbook

Click here for an illustration of who can vote for what ballot in the Primary Election.

 

Absentee voting
Download an absentee voter form.

If you are unable to attend your polling place in person on Election Day, you may be eligible to vote by absentee ballot. To vote by absentee ballot, a voter must request an absentee ballot application from your County Election Official. The County Election Official will send a paper absentee ballot to the voter. The voter then completes the ballot and returns it to the County Election Official.

In South Dakota, the County Election Official must receive your application for absentee ballot no later than 5 p.m. the day before the election. Make sure you are registered before you apply to vote by absentee ballot. You can confirm your registration by visiting the Voter Information Portal.

If you are a military or overseas citizen please visit the linked pages to view absentee requirements.

If you are registered as an Independent/No Party Affiliation (NPA) and are requesting a Primary Election ballot, you may have a choice of voting a Democratic ballot or a Non-Political ballot.  This is an option because the South Dakota Democratic Party has opened their party primary elections to allow voters who are registered as independent/NPA to vote in their primary.  A Non-Political ballot is a ballot that only includes races where the candidates do not run with a political party affiliation and any local ballot measures (Examples include: school, city, special district, local ballot measure, etc.).  On the absentee ballot application you must select if you want the Democratic ballot or Non-Political ballot.  If you do not check one of those boxes, you will be sent the non-political ballot.  If you do not mark a ballot selection and no non-political ballot is available, you will not receive a ballot.

In the event of confinement because of sickness or disability, a qualified voter may apply in writing and obtain an absentee ballot by authorized messenger. An authorized messenger delivers the ballot from the County Election Official to the qualified voter and then delivers the marked ballot to the County Election Official. Any application for a ballot by authorized messenger must be received by the person in charge of the election before 3:00 p.m. the day of the election.

 

Polling Places and Hours

To locate polling information: South Dakota Voter Information Portal: (VIP)

Rides to the polls

Many organizations offer free rides to polling places. Some of these include:

The South Dakota ACLU offers election day rides. 
Check out Carpool Vote  for possibilities for rides to the poll.

  • Lyft (www.lyft.com) provides free or discounted rides in some underserved communities
  • Political parties sometimes arrange rides for voters. Contact the local office:
    • Republican Party: https://southdakotagop.com/contact-us/
    • Democratic Party: https://www.sddp.org/

Voters who have a disability, physical limitations or limited English proficiency may ask for assistance at the polling place. Voters can contact your local County Election Official before Election Day if special arrangements are needed. Federal law requires all polling places to be accessible. If you feel your polling place is inaccessible, please contact your County Auditor.
The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requires that each polling place for any Federal election provide a voting device equipped to allow voters with disabilities the means to vote independently and privately. South Dakota has chosen the ExpressVote by Election Systems and Software.

ExpressVote
Voters wishing to use the ExpressVote in South Dakota will receive a paper ballot activator card. The voter will then insert the ballot activator card into the ExpressVote and an electronic version of the ballot will appear on the screen. The images of the ballot contests can be enlarged for easier reading, shown in reverse contrast, or turned off for privacy if a voter chooses to access the ballot by attached headphones and keypad. The audio description of the ballot can be used in place of or in conjunction with the visual version on the screen. The voter makes selections through the touch screen or keypad. (A voter may also bring an A/B switch to access the ExpressVote.)

 

The Election Assistance Commission offers tips for voters with disabilities.

Absentee Voting

If you feel you cannot vote on the day of the election, please fill out an absentee ballot application and mail it to your County Election Official by 5:00 pm the day before the election to receive an absentee ballot. Absentee voting begins 46 days prior to the primary and general elections.

Download an absentee ballot application by visiting the absentee voting page.

If you are seeking further assistance, please contact the following groups:

South Dakota Secretary of State
500 E. Capitol Ave, Ste. 204
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 773-3537
Fax: (605) 773-6580
E-Mail

Disability Rights South Dakota
2520 E. Franklin St. Ste 2
Pierre, SD 57501
1-800-658-4782 (Voice/TTY)
Fax: (605) 224-5125
Email

South Dakota Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities
221 S. Central Ave. Suite #34A
Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: (605) 945-2207
V/TDD: 1 (800) 210-0143
Fax: (605) 945-2422
Email

Ballots
Click HERE for an illustration of who can vote for what ballot in the Primary Election.
South Dakota does not allow Write-In votes per SDCL 12-20-21.2

Here's a list of potential ballot measures for 2020

Washington Post: South Dakota 2020 Election information

 

Elections

Party Registration:

  • The South Dakota Democratic Primary is open to registered Democrats and Independents/No Party Affiliation voters, but not Republicans.
  • The South Dakota Libertarian Primary is closed to only registered Libertarians.
  • The South Dakota Republican Primary is closed to only registered Republicans.

In a Primary election, a voter is given only the ballot for the party which the voter is registered in, except for voters registered as an Independent or No Party Affiliation (NPA).

Offices/Measures That will appear on the 2020 Ballot

The following nominations are made in the party primary elections held on June 2, 2020:

  • U.S. Senator - 6 year term
  • U.S. Representative - 2 year term
  • 105 Legislators (35 Senate, 70 House) - 2 year term
  • County Commissioners - 4 year term
  • States Attorney - 4 year term
  • County Coroner - 4 year term
  • County Treasurer/County Finance Officer - 4 year term
  • Delegates and Alternates to National Party Conventions (only if designated to be elected at a Primary Election in the party's bylaws; SDCL 12-5-3.11)
  • Delegates to State Party Conventions (only if designated to be elected at a Primary Election in the party's bylaws)
  • Precinct Committeeman and Committeewoman (only if designated to be elected at a Primary Election in the party's bylaws)

 

In those areas of the state which have the following types of districts, nominations are made in a nonpartisan primary election:

  • Water Development District Directors - 4 year term
  • Heartland Consumer Power District Directors - 6 year term

 

Supreme Court - Voted on the general election ballot:

  • Retention Election, South Dakota Supreme Court Justice - 8 year term

In those areas of the state which have the following types of districts, nominations are made in the general election:

  • Conservation District Supervisor - 4 year term

 

The following will be nominated at the 2020 state conventions of each political party:

  • Public Utilities Commissioner - 6 year term
  • 3 Presidential Electors

 

Codified laws re: appearing on ballots

12-6-3. Candidacy for more than one office in same election prohibited--Exceptions. No person's name may appear on the primary election ballot as a candidate for nomination to more than one public office in the same election, except that a person may be the candidate for any public office and the office of President of the United States, vice president of the United States, director of a water development district, or director of a consumer power district. A candidate for any such office is not prohibited from seeking election to one or more party offices as may be provided in chapter 12-5. If a candidate secures a nomination at a state party convention, the candidate shall withdraw as a candidate from one of the offices and submit the withdrawal to the secretary of state on or before the date on which the secretary of state receives the state party certification.

12-16-10.1. Candidacy for more than one office prohibited--Exception. No person's name may appear on the general election ballot as a candidate for election to more than one public office except for the office of President of the United States or vice president of the United States.

Who are the candidates, and what else is on the ballot?

click here for information on the process: Voting in upcoming elections

 

South Dakota has three recognized political parties which may participate in the primary election--the Democratic Party, Libertarian Party and the Republican Party. These parties have adopted procedures according to law (SDCL 12-5-3.6) for selection of their delegates to the national political party conventions. This information is available from the party central committees. Their addresses and phone numbers are as follows:

South Dakota Democratic Party
PO Box 1485
Sioux Falls, SD 57101
Phone 605-271-5405
Fax 605-271-5405
info@sddp.org
www.sddp.org

South Dakota Libertarian Party
609 Kent Street
Harrisburg, SD 57032
Phone 605-203-1061
info@lpsouthdakota.org
http://lpsouthdakota.org/

South Dakota Republican Party
PO Box 1099
Pierre SD 57501
Phone 605-610-1479
dan@southdakotagop.com
www.southdakotagop.com

S

Important Dates

2020 Information on South Dakota Elections Handbook

Click here for an illustration of who can vote for what ballot in the Primary Election.

Date of South Dakota's 2020 Primary Election - June 2, 2020
Voter Registration Deadline - May 18, 2020
Absentee voting begins - April 17, 2020

Date of South Dakota's 2020 General Election - November 3, 2020
Voter Registration Deadline - October 19, 2020
Absentee voting begins - September 18, 2020

Who conducts elections?

2020 Upcoming elections information:

State statute provides for a seven member State Board of Elections.  The Secretary of State is the chairperson of the board.  Other board members are appointed by legislative leadership which provides party balance.  Two members are county auditors.

Click here for the meeting agenda and past minutes

Statute provides four main functions for the Board.

SDCL 12-1-9 provides the Board with rule-making authority to promulgate administrative rules dealing with many aspects of election conduct.

SDCL 12-1-10 requires the Board to make recommendations to the Secretary of State regarding desirable election law changes.

SDCL 12-1-21 designates the Board to resolve any complaints filed under Section 402 of the Help America Vote Act.

SDCL 12-17B-2 allows the Board to certify automated ballot tabulating systems before they may be used in the state.  A list of certifications is provided here.

Voter Bill of Rights

South Dakota codified laws. Search by topic and/or number

Know your voting rights in South Dakota:  ACLU South Dakota

The State of Native American Voting Rights: Brennen Center

 

Where to go with complaints about candidates or how elections are conducted

 

List of the South Dakota State Board of Elections

U.S. Election Complaint Report Site - the United States Justice Department

See Campaign Finance tab for information on Finance Complaints.

Campaign finance

South Dakota Finance Complaint Process: forms and information

How to contact your elected officials:

SD GOV Information Gateway: Official South Dakota State Government Website

South Dakota Find My Legislators Portal

South Dakota Secretary of State: Current Elected Officials

General Resources on Voting and Elections

General Resources on Voting and Elections


Hotlines


1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)

1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)

1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance)


Voter Registration & Election Day Resources

Find useful voter information including:

  • Local Election Office and Contact Information
  • Address, Telephone and Email for Local Election Offices
  • Upcoming Federal Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Upcoming State Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Eligibility Requirements
  • Identification Requirements
  • Voter Materials Transmission Options
  • State Lookup Tools – Am I Registered? Where’s my Ballot?

Population-Specific information and Resources

Voting Rights: Laws, Cases, Policy

Voter Engagement

Voter Education

Campaign Finance/Funding Information

Primary Sources, Lesson Plans & Exhibits

Disclaimer

Librarians from the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT), a Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA), created these reference guides. These guides are intended for informational purposes only and are not in any way intended to be legal advice.

These guides are designated with a Creative Commons license and re-use and modification for educational purposes is encouraged.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.