South Dakota
South Dakota
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Responsive Gov’s Grade TL;DR

During this past year, the Legislature took significant steps to restrict voter access. In addition to banning drop boxes and subjecting county auditors to criminal penalties for violations of the law, the Legislature instituted a strict 30-day residency requirement before individuals can register and vote in the state. Due to these restrictions, South Dakota received an F on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where South Dakota Started at the Beginning of 2023

  • 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 2022, we considered the state a bottom tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2023 activity against other bottom tier states. Last year, South Dakota was considered a middle tier state.

How Our Tier Compares

  • COVI (2022): 37th
  • EPI Score (2020): 48th
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 4/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): FAIR

2023: This Past Year

Legislative Action

The Legislature passed anti-voter legislation that both impedes voter access to the polls and exposes election officials to potential criminal penalties for failing to follow these new anti-voter laws.

  • S 139 requires individuals to maintain residency in the state for 30 days before being eligible to register and vote.
  • S 140 revises voter list maintenance procedures and requires county auditors to conduct list maintenance based on questionable data including jury duty excusals and obituaries.
  • H 1165 bans drop boxes, subjects county auditors to criminal penalties for failing to follow absentee ballot laws on drop boxes and signature review, and prohibits counting ballots that are returned to local election offices after the polls close (as previously allowed), among other things.