SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s been 25 years since Sioux Falls had this many people turn out for a city council election.
The city of Sioux Falls reported 26.39% of registered voters and a total of 28,984 votes were cast in the city election held on Tuesday. Of those 28,984 votes, 15,563 were absentee votes and 13,421 were Election Day votes. Voters elected council members and a school board member in this combined election.
“Excluding special and mayoral elections, this is the highest turnout for a council election since the city adopted its current form of government in 1995,” Sioux Falls City Clerk Tom Greco said.
The voting numbers for combined elections include voters in the Sioux Falls city limits and those outside the city limits eligible to vote in the school board election.
A special mayor’s election on April 23, 2010, between two candidates had about 3,000 more voters than the regular election on April 13, 2010, which included six candidates for mayor.
Based on voting numbers from 2006 through 2018 kept on the city’s website, the turnout has been less than 15,000 voters for city elections that don’t include a mayoral contest.
Greco said about 1,500 people outside the city limits were eligible to vote in the June 2 election.
While the number of registered voters has in general grown since 2006, the percentage of those registered voters doesn’t always grow with each election.
Eleven people ran for mayor in 2006. Dave Munson was elected mayor with 8,423 votes. That election had 30,399 voters for 37.08% of the 81,812 registered voters.
The city elected a mayor in 2018 and there were 32,166 total votes and 3,915 absentee ballots in those total votes. There were 105,470 registered voters that year and 30.50% of them voted. Six people ran for that mayor in the April 11, 2018, election. Paul TenHaken and Jolene Loetscher were the top candidates.
A run-off election for mayor and one council seat on May 1 drew 33,343 total voters. Of those, 29,901 were election day votes and 3,442 were absentee votes. TenHaken won the mayor’s race and Curt Soehl won the council race over Zach DeBoer.
In 2016, the combined election included a school board member and four city council members. That election drew 12,828 voters or 11.33% of the 113,264 registered voters.
The 2014 election included the mayor’s race. That election drew 31,980 voters or 32.93% of the 97,126 registered voters. Two people ran for mayor. Mike Huether won the election.
No mayor’s race in 2012 and the numbers of voters show that. The election drew 13,701 of the 95,955 registered voters or 14.28%.
The 2010 election featured the regular election on April 13 and a run-off in the mayor’s race on April 27. The first election featured six candidates for mayor.
The April 13 election drew 29,780 of the 92,604 registered voters or 32.16%. Forty-nine votes separated the top two vote recipients of Kermit Staggers and Mike Huether in the mayor’s race.
The special run-off election between Staggers and Huether had 32,273 voters or 35.19% of the 91,720 registered voters at that time. Huether won that election.
Less than 15% of the registered voters showed up for a city election in 2008. A non-mayor election drew 12,392 of the 88,163 voters for 14.06% percent.
As the city grows, so does the number of registered voters although there can be some dips from election to election.
“There is always fluctuation in the number of registered voters,” Greco said. “In 2016, I think registered voters included both active and inactive—for the election reports it should really show just active voters. In other words, the number in 2016 should have been lower (this does not affect the outcome at all).”
While voters did not choose a mayor in 2020, the number of absentee ballots cast in 2020 was roughly five times more than in 2018 and more than four times higher than in 2012. The 2012 number is based on adding the number of absentee ballots for each candidate in a school board race and four city council races.