Election FAQ

Here are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions that we receive in our office.

What are the qualifications to register to vote in South Dakota?

  • Be a United States citizen;
  • Reside in South Dakota (Residency Qualification);
  • Be at least 18 years old on or before the next election;
  • Not currently serving a sentence for a felony conviction; and
  • Not be judged mentally incompetent by a court of law.
  • What is the deadline for registering if I want to vote in a particular election?
    • The voter registration deadline is 15 days before any election. Download a voter registration form by clicking this button:
      Download Voter Registration Form

When is Election Day?

  • The Primary Election is held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in June of every even-numbered year.
  • The General Election is held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of every even-numbered year.
  • For municipal and school elections, the dates may vary. Please contact your School Business Manager or Municipal Finance Officer for the correct date.

Do I declare my political party affiliation when I register to vote?

Yes you may. South Dakota currently has two recognized parties. They are: Democrat and Republican. If you leave Section 7 of the Voter Registration Form blank or enter No Party Affiliation (NPA), you will be entered in as an Independent voter. We do not have an Independent party in South Dakota.

Can I register to vote on Election Day?

No. South Dakota does not allow you to register to vote on Election Day. The voter registration deadline is 15 days before any election (SDCL 12-4-5).

Does South Dakota have early voting?

No. South Dakota has in-person absentee voting and absentee voting by mail.

To vote in-person absentee: Beginning 46 days before a Primary and General Election, and at least 15 days before any other election, any registered voter may apply in person at the office of and to the person in charge of the election for an absentee ballot during regular office hours up to 5:00 p.m. on the day before the election. Photo identification is required when voting in-person absentee.

To vote absentee by mail: Complete an Absentee Ballot Application Form and return it to your county auditor. When absentee voting becomes available, a ballot will be sent to you.

I did not vote in the last election, do I need to re-register?

No. As long as you have either voted or updated your voter registration, you do not need to re-register.

Do I need to show photo identification when voting?

Yes. The acceptable forms of photo ID are:
  • A South Dakota driver's license or non-driver ID card;
  • A passport or other picture ID issued by the United States government;
  • A tribal photo ID; or
  • A current student photo ID issued by a South Dakota high school or postsecondary education institution.
  • If you do not have an acceptable form of photo ID, you may complete an affidavit in lieu of the personal identification.  You will provide your name and address and sign the affidavit under penalty of perjury.

Where do I vote?

Visit our Voter Information Portal to find your polling place.

May a college student register and vote from his or her school address?

Please visit our college student's information page

How do I vote absentee?

Learn about absentee voting here

Am I registered to vote?

Visit our Voter Information Portal to find your voting information.

What happens after I register to vote?

After the county auditor receives your form and your registration is processed, you will be sent an Acknowledgement Notice within 15 days. If you do not receive a notice, please contact your county auditor.

Do I have to vote on Election Day?

You may vote at any election that you are eligible for.

I just moved away for college, how do I vote?

If you are registered to vote at the address that you were living at prior to moving away for college, you may vote by absentee mail.

Can I register to vote when I get my driver's license?

Yes. When you get a South Dakota Driver's Licenses, you may register to vote or update your voter registration.

May I vote if I have committed a felony?

No. South Dakota law doesn't allow someone who committed a felony from registering to vote. If you are currently registered to vote and you commit a felony, your name will be removed from the voter registration list.

Can I register to vote online?

No. South Dakota law does not allow an individual to register to vote online. You may register to vote in-person at your county auditors office or by mail.

Where can I find a list of election dates?

You may find a list of election dates here.

Who can register to vote?

Register to vote

When do I need to update my voter registration?

You need to update your voter registration if you move, change your name, change contact information or would like to change your political party.

How many registered voters are there in South Dakota?

Voter Registration Totals

I am unable to go to the polls on Election Day, how can I vote?

You may vote absentee. To vote absentee, please refer to the absentee voting section of the website.

How do I get an absentee ballot for the upcoming election?

To vote absentee, please refer to the absentee voting section of the website.

Where can I find the election returns from prior years?

Election History

Can I write my name on the ballot or write someone else's name on the ballot as a candidate?

No. South Dakota law does not allow write-in candidates.

Can I see a sample of my ballot?

Yes. To view your sample ballot, click here

What is an electronic poll book (e-Pollbook)?

The electronic poll book serves the same function as a paper poll book, providing each Precinct or Vote Center with a list of registered voters eligible to vote at that location. However, an electronic version of the poll book has the additional benefits of being more time efficient, less prone to human error, and providing quick and easy access to every voter's registration information from the county, not just those voters from one precinct.


I am not in the military; can I also vote absentee?

Eligible spouses, children, or parents (U.S. citizens, 18 years or older) of military personnel may vote absentee. Regarding children of overseas citizens registered to vote in South Dakota, adult children who have never resided in South Dakota and have not reached the age of twenty-two (22) are eligible to vote after registering (SDCL 12-4-4.11). U.S. civilians residing overseas may vote absentee using the last place in South Dakota they were domiciled before leaving the United States.

Where is my “legal voting residence”?

For voting purposes, “legal voting residence” can be the state or territory where you last resided prior to entering military service OR the state or territory that you have since claimed as your legal residence. Even though you may no longer maintain formal ties to that residence, the address determines your proper voting jurisdiction.

Can I vote in-person where I am stationed?

Military members may vote in the U.S. state or territory where stationed if they change their legal residence to that state or territory, even if they live on a military installation. Be advised that there may be legal obligations, such as taxation, if you change your state of residence. Therefore, consult a Judge Advocate General officer or legal counsel before making such a decision. Currently there are no provisions for personnel stationed outside the United States to vote in person where stationed.

Where do I send my Federal Postcard Application?

Send your FPCA directly to your local election official. If you are unsure what county you reside in, please check using the Voter Information Portal.

What is the voter registration deadline?

The deadline for the local election official to receive your voter registration form is fifteen (15) days before an election (SDCL 12-4-5).

What is the deadline to submit an absentee ballot application?

The deadline to submit your absentee ballot application is 5:00 p.m. on the day before the Election.