SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – There are just 16 days left until Election Day, but its deadline to register to vote is much sooner for South Dakotans. Monday is the last day to register to vote if you want to have your voice heard on November 3rd.
“We had the women’s suffrage, it’s 100 years old now. There’s people that died for our right to vote. I think people really take that to heart, it’s an important duty. I think people need to exercise their right to vote,” South Dakota Secretary of State Steve Barnett said.
In order to vote, though, you must be registered — and if you aren’t by 5 tomorrow night, you won’t be able to participate in this year’s general election.
“So about the only way they can do it is to take the voter registration form down to the county auditor’s office. If they mail it, obviously it’s not going to get there in time,” Barnett said.
Alex Ramirez with the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce wants to help make sure that every eligible voter is registered.
“I know that a lot of people don’t want to go out and vote because they don’t feel comfortable, at least in the Hispanic community. They get asked if they have papers, if they’re here legally and now, this time around, sometimes they don’t want to show up. But they should show up because, you know, if they don’t show up, their vote is not counted. They have a right to vote and they’re giving up their rights when they don’t show up,” Ramirez said.
Once registered, voters can make their choices by voting absentee, voting early at a county auditor’s office or in-person on November 3rd at their polling location.
“If you can vote, you should. It took me years and years to become a citizen to be able to vote. So now that I can, it’s like something so valuable and some people take it for granted because they were born here, that were lucky to be born here. So they should go out and vote. And I don’t care who they vote for — do your research, as long as you vote, so you can be counted,” Ramirez said.
Barnett says that as of today, there are over 631,000 registered voters in South Dakota. He says there are also already more than 125,000 absentee ballots cast for this election.
On the Secretary of State’s website, you can find the voter registration form, the form to request an absentee ballot and track the progress of your ballot.
Ramirez is also the director of Pulso Hispano, an organization that works to keep the Hispanic community of Sioux Falls informed.