PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota would require a person to have lived in the state for at least 30 days before registering to vote under a change moving forward in the Legislature.
State senators voted 28-6 on Monday to approve SB-139 and send it to the House of Representatives for further action.
The bill’s prime sponsor, Republican Sen. Randy Deibert, said the legislation came from concerned voters in Pennington County. “Numerous” new voters have been registering under the current one-day requirement, he said.
Republican Sen. Jim Bolin spoke against the change, saying South Dakota should first know what other states have been doing regarding residency and voter registration.
“We’re becoming a more mobile society,” Bolin said.
But Republican Sen. David Johnson said people can now register to vote in South Dakota as long as they stay just 12 hours.
“What this bill does is define residency. It doesn’t take away anyone’s right to vote,” Johnson said.
Democrat Senate leader Reynold Nesiba did a quick check and found many states have residency requirements four weeks or longer. “This isn’t a new thing,” Nesiba said.
Deibert, correcting a statement made by another senator, said the 30-day requirement doesn’t have to be a consecutive period.
His bottom line? “We want South Dakotans voting in South Dakota elections,” Deibert said.