SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The final tally of registered voters for South Dakota’s 2022 general election is in.
Secretary of State Steve Barnett told KELOLAND News there were 596,630 registered voters by 5 p.m. Monday, the final day for voter registration. That’s up more than 10,000 voters from the June 7 primary election and an increase of nearly 18,000 (17,964) from the 2020 general election.
The final breakdown of registered voters by party is — 296,290 Republicans, 151,341 Democrats, 144,813 Independent or no party affiliation, 2,797 Libertarians and 1,389 listed as other (voters who write any other political party on their voter registration form that is not currently a recognized political party in South Dakota).
There’s 61,492 inactive voters in South Dakota. A registered voter only becomes inactive if the person dies or doesn’t vote in either of the previous two presidential elections.
In the final month of voter registration, Republicans gained 2,405 registered voters, Independent or no party affiliation gained 1,218 registered voters, Democrats gained 422 registered voters and Libertarians gained 38 registered voters.
KELOLAND’s Bob Mercer looked into South Dakota’s voter registration history from 1968 to present day.
All South Dakotans will vote for U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Commissioner of School and Public Lands and Public Utilities Commissioner.
Other positions include state lawmakers, county-level positions, state Supreme Court judges, circuit court judges and two ballot measures.
For the state legislature, Republicans have already won 20 Senate seats for the 2023-24 term, because they have no opponents on November 8. At least 35 House seats will go Republican, too, because the only candidates running are Republicans or because challengers haven’t contested both seats in the 35 two-seat districts.
Registered Sioux Falls voters will also be voting on a city-wide initiated measure.
All South Dakotans will vote on two statewide ballot questions – Constitutional Amendment D and Initiated Measure 27. Sioux Falls voters will also be voting on a city-initiated measure to ban the construction or permitting of new slaughterhouses within the city limits.
What’s Amendment D?
Constitutional Amendment D would amend the South Dakota Constitution to expand Medicaid eligibility to help provide medical coverage for low-income people in designated categories. The Legislative Research Council’s Fiscal Note for Amendment D says Medicaid expansion would cover 42,500 new individuals for a cost of $297 million, which would cost the state $32.5 million and give $63.5 million in general fund savings.
Proponents – Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender and retired businessman Jim Woster – say passing Amendment D will return more federal tax money to the state and allow South Dakota to use more federal funds on residents’ health.
“Amendment D will strengthen rural hospitals and clinics and make it easier for people in rural South Dakota to get health care,” Allender and Woster wrote in the proponent section in the Secretary of State’s official ballot question pamphlet.
Opponents – Americans for Prosperity State Director Keith Moore – said Medicaid expansion in South Dakota will impact the state’s budget in the future.
“Expanding Medicaid shreds our Constitution and expands services to able-bodied adults under ObamaCare,” Moore wrote in the opponent section in the Secretary of State’s official ballot question pamphlet.
What’s Initiated Measure 27?
IM 27 would legalize marijuana in small amounts for people age 21 and older. The measure legalizes substances considered felony-controlled substances under State law. Marijuana remains illegal under Federal law.
The LRC’s Fiscal Notes says IM 27 could create “marginal additional revenue in new civil penalty fines” and the state could see a “minimal decrease in expenses due to decreased incarceration for marijuana-related offenses.”
Proponents say legalizing small amounts gives people 21 or older the freedom to choose whether to use marijuana and allows police to focus on harsher crimes.
Opponents say legal marijuana will increase marijuana use for kids and not help foster healthy families.
Election Day is set for Tuesday, Nov. 8.