Voter registration in South Dakota is the simple process by which a resident signifies that he or she wishes to participate in local, state and national political elections. Residents of South Dakota can register to vote at multiple locations within the county of their residence, including at the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. The process includes submitting basic information to the county auditor and thereby being officially listed in a voter enrollment database kept by the local government.

Certain personal requirements must be met in order to be eligible to enroll. While obtaining a voter registration card is not compulsory in South Dakota, it is considered one of the basic inalienable rights of citizenship and South Dakota residents are encouraged to exercise their right to vote.

What is the voter registration process in South Dakota?

South Dakota utilizes a basic voter registration form that can be submitted in person or by mail to the office of the county auditor, driver’s license stations, military recruitment offices, City Finance office, Department of Human Services or any public assistance offices responsible for providing food stamps, TANF or WIC funds. It is possible to register to vote by printing this form from the website of the South Dakota Secretary of State, fill it out and then bring it in person or send it via mail.

You cannot currently register to vote in South Dakota via fax or email unless you are uniformed military or otherwise stationed overseas. The registration deadline states that the application form must be received by the county auditor no later than fifteen days previous to an election in which you wish to participate. Within that fifteen days prior, you will receive an official notification of your successful voter registration from the office of the county auditor. You can access and verify your voter information at any time via the South Dakota Secretary of State’s online portal.

Who can register to vote in South Dakota?

There are some voter registration limitations and requirements in place for South Dakota applicants. Registering to vote in South Dakota requires an applicant to fulfill the following personal criteria:

  • Be a United States citizen currently residing in South Dakota
  • Have reached a minimum of eighteen years of age
  • Not currently serving any kind of judicial sentence (imprisonment, probation or parole) for a felony conviction
  • Not having been judged mentally incompetent by a court decision

Voter registration in South Dakota typically calls for the applicant to choose a party affiliation with Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Constitution or Independent/No Party groupings. In any Primary Election in South Dakota, a voter would then be given only the ballot for the party to which he or she stated affiliation.

How to Register To Vote via Early Voting in South Dakota

South Dakota voter registration for absentee voters, or voters who need to submit votes prior to an official election day for various reasons, can be achieved via the Absentee Ballot Application available for download on the Secretary of State’s website. You can also request this form be sent to you by mail from the County Election Official. Only South Dakota voters who already hold a valid voter registration card should sign and mail in this form as it requires a resident to have already registered to vote in his or her home county.

An applicant registered as an Independent or non-party (NPA) voter and interested in an absentee ballot for a Primary Election must indicate whether he or she wishes to receive the Democratic or Non-Political ballot. Failure to indicate this preference on an absentee voter registration form can result in an automatic Non-Political ballot being sent, or no ballot at all in the event that no Non-Political ballot exists for the election in question.

The completed Absentee Ballot Application should be sent with an authentic signature to the County Election Official. In order for your absentee ballot to be legitimate, the official must receive your application no later than 5 p.m. the day prior to the election.

Regular voters can utilize the benefits of early voting by visiting their polling place in person anytime after absentee voting has officially begun for a given election. In the event that a South Dakota resident needs to know how to register to vote by absentee ballot due to prolonged confinement, debilitating illness or other movement-restraining disability, these residents can petition in writing for the special right to vote by absentee ballot carried by an authorized messenger.

This authorized messenger answers the question of, “Where do I vote?,” for disabled citizens by personally delivering the ballot from the County Election Official to the voter, and then delivering the marked ballot back to the County Election Official after the qualified voter has completed it. All absentee votes handled by authorized messengers must be successfully applied for and granted by the election manager prior to 3 p.m. on the day of the election.

Where do I vote if I am active-duty military or out of the state of South Dakota?

South Dakota makes it unnecessary to change voter registration if you are an active-duty military member or other eligible overseas citizens. Thanks to the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE) of 2008, “Where do I vote?” is no longer a question South Dakota military personnel have to worry about. This state initiative created the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Electronic Voter Registration Portal for the purpose of making it possible for all military members in possession of a current, valid South Dakota drivers license to receive and submit their special absentee ballots exclusively online.

For military members or overseas citizens who need to complete some aspect of South Dakota voter registration or that do not have a valid South Dakota driver’s license, the Absentee Ballot Application is simply printed and mailed back to the County Election Official. The Department of Defense offers expedited mailing services for military members. Uniformed South Dakota military personnel and qualified overseas residents are the only voters who have the capability to submit ballots via fax or email.

What is a South Dakota voter registration card?

The voter registration card in South Dakota is received by mail after a resident has completed the process of registering to vote in his or her home county. This piece of voter registration documentation signifies that a voter is recognized, legitimate and able to vote in any election within his or her region in South Dakota. This document will contain information about the voter’s full name, birthdate, address, political affiliation and official polling place.

How do I change voter registration information in South Dakota?

A voter registration change of address in South Dakota is easy to achieve as the process uses the same official form as regular registration. You can change voter registration address information by completing the bottom segment of the form wherein old registration addresses are canceled and new addresses can be entered.

You will be required to fill in your driver’s license number, previous address, previous county and date of birth. Remember that changing your name on your driver’s license may also be necessary prior to updating your voter registration information.

How do I replace my lost or stolen voter registration card in South Dakota?

The question, “Am I registered to vote in South Dakota?” may have been shortly followed for some residents with the realization that a registration card has been misplaced. South Dakota residents can obtain new voter registration cards by visiting the office of their local county auditor and requesting a new copy of their voter information.

The Voter Information Portal can also be accessed online via the website of the South Dakota Secretary of State. It is not necessary for a South Dakota voter to have his or her registration card in hand on the day of an election in order to vote.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 12 2019.

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