South Dakota
South Dakota
TierMid Tier

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Grade TL;DR

In 2021, South Dakota made a few minor pro-voter improvements, which include protecting domestic violence victims’ information from public voting disclosure and pre-processing absentee ballots. However, in 2022, the Legislature passed a bill that prohibits private funding for election administration in the state, leaving local elections offices without sufficient funds to properly run elections. Due to the detrimental impact of the 2022 anti-voter bill for elections workers and eligible voters, and taking into consideration the minor progress made for voters in 2021, South Dakota received a C on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where South Dakota Started in 2020

  • Automatic Voter Registration: No
  • Online Voter Registration: No
  • Same-Day Registration: Yes
  • Restoration of Rights: Parole and/or Probation Disenfranchisement
  • Vote by Mail: No-Excuse
  • Electronic Registration Information Center Member: No
  • Early Voting Opportunities: In-Person Absentee
  • ID Requirements: ID Requested, but not Required

Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for South Dakota as of 2020, we considered the state a middle tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2021-22 activity against other middle tier states.

How Our Tier Compares:

  • COVI (2020): 29th
  • EPI Score (2020): 48th
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 4/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): FAIR

2021: Two Years Ago

Legislative Action

​​The South Dakota Legislature made a few small but important pro-voter changes to election laws during the 2021 session.

  • S 102 allows victims of domestic violence to protect their voter registration information from public disclosure.
  • S 184 allows counties to potentially begin pre-processing absentee ballots on Election Day before the polls close. It gives auditors the discretion to implement pre-processing if the county has an influx of absentee voting for an election.

2022: This Past Year

Legislative Action

During the 2022 session, the Legislature passed only one election-related anti-voter bill.

  • S 122 prohibits private funding for election administration in the state. It hinders election jurisdictions’ ability to adequately fund elections by barring them from accepting needed funds from outside sources while not providing sufficient state funds to support local election officials.