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More South Dakotans Registering As Independents

October 8, 2012, 5:58 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

More South Dakotans Registering As Independents
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Less than a month before Election Day, there are more registered Independents in South Dakota than four years ago.

Since the 2008 Presidential election, both South Dakota's Republican and Democratic parties have lost registered voters, but Independents have gained more than 8,000 voters in the last four years.

Some say it's a sign that Americans are getting tired of the political rhetoric from both sides of the aisle.

"It's probably because they might be a little fed up with the political process," South Dakota voter T.J. Olson said.

While a majority of South Dakotans are still registered as either Republican or Democrat, the voter registration numbers for Independents continues to increase.

Four years ago, there were more than 82,000 registered Independents; this year there are nearly 91,000.

"I think more people are registering Independent because they don't want to feel obligated to vote for what their party believes in," voter Erin Fromm said.

South Dakota is not alone. Independent voter registration has increased in a half-dozen presidential battleground states this year while registration in the two major political parties has decreased.

Recent college-graduate Erin Fromm and her mom, Sheryl, say they don't believe most Americans vote along party lines all the time.

"I don't vote party each time. I've voted across the board. It depends on the person," Sheryl Fromm said.

"I just think they're saying I want to agree with both sides. I want to come to a mutual agreement, and so I'll vote for what I believe in and it doesn't necessarily have to be within a party," Erin Fromm said.

Olson agrees. He says he likes to cross party lines when he votes.

"It seems like the two sides are very hard lined in their issues and how they stand on certain stuff, and I really don't think people think hard-line left or hard-line right," Olson said.

That's why more South Dakota voters may be moving to the middle so they can pick and choose what's served up on their political plate.

Right now, 46 percent of South Dakotans are registered Republicans, 36 percent are Democrats and 17 percent are Independents.

Augustana Political Science Professor Emily Wanless says another reason more people may be registering Independent is that with the internet and social media, voters can be more informed about each candidate and they don't have look to the parties to help guide their vote.

  REPUBLICANS DEMOCRATS INDEPENDENTS TOTAL
2008 General 241,528 204,413 82,473 530,462
Jan. 1, 2012 232,508 186,601 85,830 506,870
Oct. 1, 2012 239,205 187,063 90,854 519,462

 

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