SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Less than 60% of the state’s active voters participated in the mid-term election on Tuesday. Of the state’s 597,073 active voters, 354,256 voted to account for 59.33% of all active voters, according to unofficial results on the South Dakota Secretary of State’s website.
Although the state had more registered and active voters in 2022 than in 2018, there were only about 13,000 more people who voted this year. The turnout was 65% of registered voters in 2018 as 341,048 of 545,308 registered voters participated and 63% of active voters. When results are official, the percentage is listed as a percent of registered voters.
Generally, voter turnout in mid-term elections in the state has trended downward since 1994. Percentages from years prior to 2018 will be based on registered voters as listed on the SOS election history pages.
South Dakota Secretary of State Steve Barnett said 2022 is close to the mid-term average turnout of about 60% since 2010.
While 59% may be less than in 2018, South Dakota out performs the national average of about 40% turnout in mid-term elections.
Large populations and a higher number of active voters didn’t guarantee the highest turnouts around the state.
Minnehaha, Pennington and Lincoln Counties do not usually have the highest voter turnouts in the state, Barnett said.
In the state’s two most populous counties, the voter turnout was lower than the statewide turnout.
It wasn’t lower by much in Minnehaha County where 58% of 130,827 active voters participated. That totals 75,570 ballots cast.
In Pennington County, 53% of active voters participated. The county has 86,296 active voters and there were 48,958 ballots cast.
So if all active voters participated in both counties, that would be about 95,500 more votes cast in those two counties.
But the third most populous county in the state topped the statewide average.
Lincoln County which includes a portion of the Sioux Falls city limits had a 64% voter turnout.
The county has 44,231 active voters and 28,483 ballots were cast.
In general the more rural the county, the better the voter participation. But there are exceptions, counties in tribal lands had some of the lowest voter turnout. For example, Oglala Lakota, 32%, Ziebach, 43% and Dewey: 48%.
Barnett said when he talks about elections at community organization meetings around the state, he includes the counties in the top 10 of voter turnout.
Those are often the rural counties like Jerauld or Jones, he said.
Jones County has fewer than 1,000 active voters. The county had a turnout of 72% with 478 of the 663 active voters participating.
Jerauld had a 71% voter turnout with 877 ballots. The county has 1,835 active voters.
Perkins County has 2,114 active voters and 1,390 voted which is 66% of those active voters.
“I don’t know if they are more engaged (in rural areas)…,” Barnett said of why turnout is general higher in rural areas.
Still, the mid-term featured a governor’s race, a U.S. Senate Race, a U.S. House race and two major ballot issues on expansion of Medicaid and legalization of recreational marijuana.
But only, the two ballot issues were within 10 points of each other.
Where did people vote the most?
The U.S. Census conducted every 10 years is used to help determine changes in voting precincts. Census data can be used to draw new boundaries for voting districts.
A need for more or less or other changes in voting site, “part of that may be addressed every 10 years…,” Barnett said.
Sioux Falls lies in Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties. It’s grown significantly to the east and southeast.
Precinct 0214 in Minnehaha County, which includes parts of eastern Sioux Falls, had the most voters at 2,934, according to the SOS website. The location is Eastside Baptist Church 6101 E 49th St. in Sioux Falls. The precinct has 4,693 active voters but that is not the most of any precinct in the county. Precinct 405 has 5,848 active voters. That precinct is at Word of Life Pentecostal Church 3513 N. 10th Ave. in Sioux Falls, also in the eastern part of the city.
Most of the Sioux Falls precincts in Lincoln County had more voters than the other except for precinct 24 in Tea which had 2,055 voters. There are 3,481 active voters in that district.
Sioux Falls precinct 1-16 in Lincoln had the fewest votes of the city precincts at 615 ballots. The precinct has 1,042 active voters. But Sioux Falls 1-16, 1-13 and 1-14 all vote at Central Church at 3100 W. Ralph Rogers Rd. in Sioux Falls. About 2,100 votes were cast in those three precincts.
Precinct AW in Pennington County had the most voters at 2,427. There are 11,957 active voters in that precinct. The poll site is the Box Elder Event Center at 420 Villa Drive in Box Elder.
In contrast, Aurora County, with a 69% voter turnout, had 376 votes at precinct 3. The county has 1,800 active voters and 1,233 voted. There are 555 active votes in precinct 3.
When a city or county has had growth, especially as rapid as growth as Sioux Falls, it’s probably worth evaluating voting precincts every three to four years, Barnett said.
“What’s there may be able to handle things today but it might not five years from now,” Barnett said.
Here’s a list of the voter turnout by county: Walworth County is not yet fully reported.
Harding: 69%; Butte: 64%; Lawrence: 62%; Pennington: 53%; Custer 68%; Fall River: 62%; Perkins: 66%; Meade: 60%; Oglala Lakota: 33%; Corson: 41%; Dewey: 48%; Ziebach: 43%; Haakon: 72%; Jackson: 51%; Bennett: 57%; Stanley: 69%; Jones 72%; Mellette: 56%; Todd: 43%; Campbell: 60%; Potter: 65%; Sully: 71%; Hughes: 65%; Lyman: 60%; Buffalo: 44%; Tripp: 64%; McPherson: 64%; Edmunds: 64%; Falk: 62%; Hyde: 62%; Hand: 67%; Jerauld: 71%; Brule: 65%; Aurora: 69%; Gregory: 73%; Charles Mix: 73%; Brown: 58%; Spink: 65%; Beadle: 59%; Sanborn: 64%; Davison: 61%; Douglas: 70%; Bon Homme: 67%; Hutchinson: 66%; Hanson: 51%; Miner: 65%; Kingsbury: 71%; Clark: 64%; Day: 65%; Marshall: 68%; Roberts: 58%; Grant: 68%; Codington: 63%; Hamlin: 67%; Deuel: 67%; Brookings: 62%; Lake: 63%; Moody: 65%; McCook: 67%; Minnehaha: 57%; Turner: 67%; Lincoln: 64%; Yankton: 62%; Clay: 57%; Union: 56%.