SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota’s next election is still more than a year away but a number of bills passed through the South Dakota Legislature will impact the process of elections in 2024. 

More than 30 bills were listed under that category of “elections” by the South Dakota Legislative Research Council and more than 10 of those bills passed both chambers and await final action from Gov. Kristi Noem. 

Among the changes for upcoming elections are a creating post-election audit, a 30-day residency requirement for voter registration, public testing of tabulating equipment within 10 days of an election, allowing school boards to change term lengths to help joint elections as well as bans to absentee ballot drop boxes, ranked-choice voting and a penalty for public funds being used to influence an outcome of an election. Other bills clarify or update current law regarding the Secretary of State’s office requiring maintenance of voter rolls and the list of candidates

Early in this year’s legislative session, Republican leaders Will Mortenson (House) and Casey Crabtree (Senate) announced there would be a package of bills focusing on South Dakota’s election laws. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle praised the input from county auditors during the legislative process. 

Post-election audit

Senate Bill 160, which creates a post-election audit following the state canvassing of a primary or general election, passed the House 68-0 and the Senate 34-1. 

County auditors will be required to conduct a post-election audit in 5% of precincts in the county by manually counting all votes cast in two contests and comparing the results of the manual count to the results for those precincts at the county canvass.

If signed into law by Noem, South Dakota will join 41 other states that have some sort of post-election tabulation audits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

30-day residency requirement 

Senate Bill 139 requires a person to have lived in the state for at least 30 days before registering to vote. It passed the Senate 29-4 and the House 68-2 and awaits Noem’s signature or veto. 

To qualify as a resident in South Dakota a person only needs to spend one night. Under this bill, a person must maintain a residence in South Dakota for at least 30 days prior to registering to vote.  

Republican Rep. Kevin Jensen said the bill doesn’t diminish anyone’s right to vote. He said it makes sure people have the intention to have a residency in the state. 

Republican Sen. Randy Deibert said 12 to 13 auditors weighed into the crafting of the bill as well as the secretary of state. Deibert said auditors would not be enforcing the 30-day requirement and the 30-day requirement isn’t tied to a single year but 30 days prior to submitting a voter registration form. 

Here’s a list of election-related bills that have passed. Bolded bills have been signed into law by Noem while non-bolded bills await a decision.