MENU

Steve Barnett

     Select a box and SCROLL DOWN


South Dakota Election FAQ's

Click on the Question to see the answer. Click again to hide.


Q: Does South Dakota user paper ballots?

A: Yes, all official ballots used in South Dakota are paper.

Q: Are South Dakota's tabulating machines connected to the internet?

A: No. South Dakota law prohibits tabulating machines from being connected to the internet. As noted in the statute below, South Dakota Codified Law (SDCL) 12-17B-2 states that no automatic tabulating or electronic ballot marking devices may be connected to the internet. Furthermore, the tabulation machines used in South Dakota counties do not contain modems and are incapable of being connected to the internet. Similarly, the ballot marking device used in South Dakota counties is a hardened ballot-marking device that does not contain a modem and is incapable of being connected to the internet.

12-17B-2. Requirements for automatic tabulating, electronic ballot marking, and election voting equipment systems--Approval of changes or modifications.

Any automatic tabulating or electronic ballot marking system used in an election shall enable the voter to cast a vote for all offices and on all measures on which the voter is entitled to vote. No automatic tabulating, electronic ballot marking, or election voting equipment system may be connected to the internet. No ballot marking device may save or tabulate votes marked on any system. Each system shall fulfill the requirements for election assistance commission standards certification and be approved by the State Board of Elections prior to distribution and use in this state. No system may be approved unless the system fulfills the requirements as established by the State Board of Elections. Any changes or modifications to an approved system shall be approved by the State Board of Elections prior to distribution and use.

Q: Does South Dakota allow same day voter registration, which allows voters to register and cast a ballot on Election Day?

A: No. South Dakota dose not allow same day voter registration. The deadline to register to vote in South Dakota is 15 days prior to the election in which you wish to cast a ballot.

Q: Do I need an ID to vote?

A: Yes. SDCL 12-18-6.1 requires voters to present a valid form of personal identification when requesting a ballot. Acceptable forms of identification include a South Dakota driver’s license or non-driver ID card, passport or other picture ID issued by the United States government, tribal photo ID, or a current student photo ID issued by a South Dakota high school or postsecondary education institution. If a voter is unable to present one of the forms of identification above, they may complete a personal identification affidavit, which must be signed by the voter under the penalty of perjury. The maximum penalty for perjury is 2 years imprisonment and a $4,000 fine.

12-18-6.1 Voters required to provide identification before voting.

When the voter is requesting a ballot, the voter shall present a valid form of personal identification. The personal identification that may be presented shall be either:
(1)    A South Dakota driver's license or nondriver identification card;
(2)    A passport or an identification card, including a picture, issued by an agency of the United States government;
(3)    A tribal identification card, including a picture; or
(4)    A current student identification card, including a picture, issued by a high school or an accredited institution of higher education, including a university, college, or technical school, located within the State of South Dakota.

12-18-6.2 Affidavit in lieu of personal identification.

If a voter is not able to present a form of personal identification as required by SDCL 12-18-6.1, the voter may complete an affidavit in lieu of the personal identification. The State Board of Elections shall promulgate rules, pursuant to chapter 1-26, prescribing the form of the affidavit. The affidavit shall require the voter to provide his or her name and address. The voter shall sign the affidavit under penalty of perjury.

Q: How do I request an absentee ballot?

A: Registered South Dakota voters may request an absentee ballot by submitting an absentee ballot application form to your county auditor. State law requires absentee ballot applications to be notarized or accompanied by a copy of an acceptable photo ID to verify the identity of the applicant. Acceptable forms of identification mirror those required when voting at a polling location and include a South Dakota driver’s license or non-driver ID card, passport or other picture ID issued by the United States government, tribal photo ID, or a current student photo ID issued by a South Dakota high school or postsecondary education institution. The South Dakota Absentee Ballot Application Form is available for download at https://sdsos.gov/elections-voting/assets/AbsenteeApplication_202012.PDF.

Q: What happens after I submit an absentee ballot application?

A: Upon verification of registered status and completed application by your county auditor, you will be mailed an absentee ballot packet. You will mark the ballot and place the voted ballot in the enclosed return envelope. You will then sign your name on the reverse side of the return envelope. This signature will be verified against the signature on the absentee ballot application to confirm the form was completed by the same individual. Once your county auditor receives your returned absentee ballot it is recorded in the statewide voter registration list. This prevents a voter from returning an absentee ballot and voting on Election Day. Absentee ballots are not opened until Election Day. Absentee ballots are removed from the return envelopes without unfolding the ballot and immediately placed in a secure ballot box to ensure voter privacy.

Q: Are absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day counted?

A: No. Per SDCL 12-19-12, absentee ballots must be received by the county auditor prior to the close of polls on Election Day. If an absentee ballot is received after the close of polls, it is not counted.

12-19-12. Delivery of absentee ballot to polling place after close of polls.

If an absentee ballot is delivered to a polling place after the polls are closed, the absentee ballot may not be counted or opened.

Q: Are Election Day counting processes open to the public?

A: Yes. South Dakota's tabulation processes are open to the public to observe.

12-17B-10. Direction of proceedings at counting location--Open to public.

All proceedings at the counting location shall be under the direction of the person in charge of the election and shall conform to the requirements of the voting system. The proceedings shall be open to the public. No person, who is not employed or authorized for the purpose, may touch any ballot, ballot box, or equipment used in the return of the ballots to the counting location or the tabulation process.