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October 18, 2012 09:55 PM

Voter Registration Up 16,000 In South Dakota

Sioux Falls, SD

South Dakotans have just two more business days to register to vote in the November 6 general election. 
  
Brady Kankelfitz just moved from St. Cloud, Minnesota to Sioux Falls this past weekend. He barely unpacked before taking his place in line to register to vote.

"It's pretty easy, all you had to do was just fill out a paper and then you can vote right away here. I thought it was going to take a while to vote, but it's actually really fast and nice,"  Kankelfitz said.

19-year-old Kankelfitz is part of the wave of young people, new to the state, who are helping swell the number of registered voters.

"I'm very excited about it. Anytime we have more people who want to get involved in having a voice in what direction they want their government to go, I think it's very encouraging," South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant said.

Gant says he was disappointed by the 20 percent turnout in the June primary, so he worked with some national organizations to boost registration numbers ahead of the general election.

"And that's when I partnered with Rock-the-Vote, a nationwide voter registration organization. We had a National Voter Registration Day that we participated in and just getting out there talking to college students, talking to various groups about the importance of registering to vote," Gant said.

Gant doesn't expect this year's voter registrations to surpass 2008's totals.  But overall turnout is expected to top 70 percent next month because of first-time voters like Kankelfitz who couldn't wait to register.

"It seems exciting, I've always wanted to vote," Kankelfitz said.

The number of registered voters is up 16,000 so far this year. Registrations in Minnehaha County are up 4,000 from 2008, to a record 108,500 voters.

The deadline to register to vote is 5 p.m. Monday, October 22. 

 

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