SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota’s primary election is underway. The polls close at seven on both sides of the state. Voter turnout for primary elections has been falling in the state since a peak in the early 2000s.
People were coming and going this afternoon at the polling place at 57th and Minnesota. Three precincts are located here, which means more foot traffic than some other polling places.
KELOLAND News talked with people after they voted about what brought them out for a primary election.
“Well, sometimes there are things on the ballot we might not get to see if we don’t get out ahead of it, so that’s why I’m here,” Julie Sauer said.
“Well I could only vote on one thing and that was Amendment C,” Roger White said.
“Well I wanted to vote, I think there were a few important names on the ballot that I wanted to support, as an American I think it is a privilege for us to be able to vote,” Kristy Westra said.
South Dakota Secretary of State Steve Barnett spoke with us mid afternoon and said turnout had been steady statewide.
Barnett says in the last 7 primaries, the average voter turnout was 27 percent. He sampled a few counties around the state, including Hughes County which was at about 21 percent but expected to climb.
“Yankton and Pennington as well they’re at about 20 percent, Pennington at about 28 percent, and Brown County was a little bit lower at about 12 percent so we are kind of seeing everything all over the map there, but I think you will continue to see a steady flow especially maybe even after five as people get off work you will see a few more people heading into the polls,” Steve Barnett said.
Barnett says it is always hard to predict, but if he had to guess he would put the final voter turnout in South Dakota at between 23 and 29 percent.