PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — As of Sept. 1, South Dakota has more registered voters who have no party affiliation than it did in 2016, according to registration data posted by the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office.
The state had 132,000 registered voters who wrote Independent or no party affiliation (NPA) or left the area blank when they registered. There were 113,156 of those such registered voters as of Sept. 1, 2016. That’s an increase of 86% from registration date to registration date. South Dakota does not have an Independent Party.
The state had 557,509 total active registered voters as of Sept. 1 compared to 531,584 active registered voters on Sept. 1, 2016.
The Republicans continue to have a strong presence in a state with a Republican governor and a Republican state house and senate and the presence appears even stronger than in 2016, based on Sept. 1 registrations.
As of Sept. 1, 20,363, more voters registered as Republicans compared to Sept. 1, 2016, when 247,712 were registered as Republicans.
The numbers could change as eligible voters can still register to vote in South Dakota. A voter registration form with an original signature must be received by the auditor 15 days before any election for those who wish to vote in that election, according to the Secretary of State.
Sept. 22 is National Voter Registration Day. According to the day’s website, 473,725 people registered to vote on National Voter Registration Day in 2019. The registration day is endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), National Association of Election Officials (Election Center), the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), according to the registration day website.
In Yankton County almost as many people who registered as Independent or NPA as those who registered as Democrats as of Sept. 1. There were 3,585 voters listed as Independent or no party affiliation in the county and 3,944 who registered as Democrats. The county had 6,432 people who registered as Republicans.
Yankton County had an estimated 2019 population of 22,814 and is 91.85% white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
In Pennington County, there were more voters registered as Independent or NPA (21,459) than Democrats (17,238). Pennington County’s estimated 2019 population is 113,775 and 83.1% white.
The number of Republican registered voters and from Sept. 1, 2016, to Sept. 1, 2020, also increased in Pennington County. The county had 34,106 registered Republicans as of Sept. 1, 2016. The county had 38,135 registered Republicans as of Sept. 1, 2020.
While the state does not have an Independent Party, the Libertarian Party has been a recognized party since 2016. The Constitution was a recognized party in 2016 but lost that status on Nov. 14, 2018.
499 people had registered with the Constitution Party as of Sept. 1, 2016.
Affiliations in the Libertarian Party have grown by 71.5% from registrations in Sept. 1, 2016 to Sept. 1 registrations this year.
There were 1,447 registered voters who indicated they are affiliated with the Libertarian Party in 2016 and 2,023 who registered with the party as of Sept. 1 this year.
While most voters registered as Libertarians are in the most populous counties in the state, Minnehaha with 504 and Pennington with 463, Yankton County had 58 registered Libertarians as of Sept. 1. It had 43 in 2016.
Fewer voters have registered as Democrats (155,084) as of Sept. 1 compared to the 169,004 who registered as of Sept. 1, 2016.
Faulk County has nearly five times more registered Republicans than Democrats. As of Sept. 1, there were 244 registered Democrats and 1,040 registered Republicans. The county had roughly twice as many Republicans (832) as Democrats(425) on Sept. 1, 2016. The county’s estimated 2016 population was 2,364 and 97.8% white.
Ziebach County continues to lean Democrat with 853 registered Democrats as of Sept. 1 compared to 900 in 2016. But, there are 399 Registered Republicans compared to 393 in 2016.
Ziebach County had an estimated 2019 population of 2,756 and 71.1% were Native American.
South Dakota had 544,428 registered voters for the 2016 general election. But not everyone who was registered to vote did so. The SOS said 378,995 voted in the 2016 general election for a voter turnout of 69.7%.