SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Early voting starts at the end of this week for South Dakotans and sample ballots are out. 

Before casting a vote in the 2022 general election, here’s what you need to know.  

What are we voting on? 

This is a non-Presidential election so the only federal government officials on the ballot will be for one of South Dakota’s two U.S. Senate seats and the state’s lone U.S. House seat. 

Registered South Dakota voters will be voting on statewide offices, state lawmakers, county-level positions, state Supreme Court judges, circuit court judges and two ballot measures. Registered Sioux Falls voters will also be voting on a city-wide initiated measure. 

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.  

In the U.S. Senate race, there are three candidates on the ballot – Brian Bengs (D-Aberdeen), Tamara Lesnar (Libertarian-Grenville) and John Thune (R-Sioux Falls). 

In The U.S. Representative race, there are two candidates on the ballot – Collin Duprel (Liberatarian-Vale) and Dusty Johnson (R-Mitchell). 

For Governor and Lieutenant Governor there are three candidate tickets – Jamie Smith (D-Sioux Falls) and Jennifer Keintz (D-Eden); Tracey Quint (Libertarian-Sioux Falls) and Ashley Strand (Libertarian-Rapid City); and Kristi Noem (R-Castlewood) and Larry Rhoden (R-Union Center). 

In the Secretary of State race, there are two candidates – Thomas Cool (D-Sioux Falls) and Monae Johnson (R-Rapid City). 

For Attorney General, there is only one candidate – Marty Jackley (R-Pierre). 

In the State Auditor race, there are three candidates – Stephanie Marty (D-Sioux Falls), Rene Meyer (Libertarian-Hartford) and Richard Sattgast (R-Pierre). 

In the State Treasurer race, there are two candidates – John Cunningham (D-Sioux Falls) and Josh Haeder (R-Huron). 

In the Public Utilities Commissioner, there are two candidates – Jeffrey Barth (D-Sioux Falls) and Chris Nelson (R-Pierre). 

In the Commissioner of School and Public Lands race, there are two candidates – Timothy Azure (D-Wessington Springs) and Brock Greenfield (R-Clark). 

For each statewide position, voters can only vote for one or leave the spot blank. All parties and towns listed are from the Secretary of State’s website and candidates are listed in the order they appear on the ballot. 

How to vote absentee 

Voters can vote absentee in-person with their county auditor starting on Friday until the day before Election Day. Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time on Election Day. For polling locations and sample ballots, see the Voter Information Portal on the SOS website

In order to vote absentee by mail, registered voters must request an application from their county auditor or download and fill one out from the SOS website

Voters submitting absentee ballot applications must have a photocopy of an approved photo identification card or have the form notarized. Acceptable photo identification cards include a South Dakota driver’s license or non-driver ID card, tribal photo ID, passport or other picture ID issued by the United States government, or a current student photo ID issued by a South Dakota high school or postsecondary education institution.

How to register to vote

The voter registration deadline is Monday, October 24, 2022.

If you have not registered to vote in the past, you will need to print and fill out this form, sign it and then submit it to your County Auditor. Voter registration can not be done electronically in South Dakota.

Not sure if you’ve already registered? You can check that online at the South Dakota Secretary of State’s website. Simply fill out your info, and if you are registered to vote, it will show you your polling location for the next election.

November 8 General Election key dates

  • Absentee voting begins: Friday, September 23, 2022
  • Voter registration deadline: Monday, October 24, 2022
  • Election Day voting: Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Learn more about candidates and issues 

KELOLAND News wants to help you get to know the candidates running in your district before you head to the ballot box. On the KELOLAND’s Your Local Election Headquarters webpage, you’ll find the latest stories regarding campaign issues. 

On that page, you can also find more about the candidates running for a seat in the South Dakota Senate and House of Representatives. 

You may live in a district with only one candidate. In the Senate, there are 20 districts with only a Republican candidate on the ballot because there are no other opposing candidates. 

In the South Dakota House, there are 12 districts with only Republican candidates on the ballot because there are no other opposing candidates. 

What are the ballot questions? 

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 with 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 to Medicaid expansion say it will return more federal tax money to the state and allow South Dakota to use more federal funds on resident’s health.  

Opponents to Medicaid expansion in South Dakota have said expanding health care will impact the state’s budget in the future. 

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. 

Sioux Falls Slaughterhouse Initiated Measure 

This measure would ban new slaughterhouses from being built and permitted to operate inside the city limits of Sioux Falls. It would not pertain to any existing slaughterhouses constructed and operating before the effective date of the measure. 

Proponents started this ballot measure in response to Wholestone Farms’ announcement to build a hog processing facility on 175 acres near Interstate 229 and Benson Road. Wholestone Farms has constructed a “custom slaughterhouse” to open before the initiated measure goes into effect. 

Proponents say slaughterhouse’s impact on the city will be negative and want to see them operate outside of the city limits. 

Opponents have said the ban would hurt future businesses from coming to Sioux Falls and harm the agriculture industry and other industries in the area.