Thank you for serving our great country. With your service at home and abroad, you are defending the very freedoms that make our nation what it is. Your sacrifice gives all of us the right to voice our opinions and vote! The state of South Dakota is determined to provide you with every way possible to have your voice heard. One vote stateside is no more significant than a vote abroad.
In 2008 the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE) was passed and former Secretary of State Chris Nelson developed the first system specifically designed for uniformed and overseas voters. This UOCAVA system was named after the Uniformed and Overseas Absentee Voting Act, which turned a 60 day process into a 24 hour transaction. The UOCAVA system allows all military and overseas voters to submit their absentee ballot application electronically and receive their absentee ballot electronically.
The UOCAVA system was used for the first time in the 2010 general election and continued to be used in the 2012, 2014 and 2016 elections.
The UOCAVA system requires the voter to print their absentee ballot and mail the ballot back to the county auditor. For military voters, the US Department of Defense provides expedited mail service for free from anywhere in the world.
Military members who possess a current, valid South Dakota Driver’s License may use our new Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Electronic Voter Registration Portal to request an absentee ballot.
If you do not possess a current, valid South Dakota Driver’s License you may follow the steps outlined below to submit an absentee ballot application.
Step 1: Complete, print and sign the Absentee Ballot Application in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format.
You must be a registered voter to request an absentee ballot for South Dakota absentee voting, however you may submit a voter registration form and an absentee ballot application together. If you are registering to vote or updating your voter registration, you must mail the original form to the county auditor's office.
Download an absentee ballot application by visiting our Absentee Voting page on our website.
If you are already registered to vote in South Dakota, you do not need to re-register. If you are not sure if you are registered to vote, please check using the Voter Information Portal (VIP). If the information on VIP is incorrect, please contact your county election official to make the proper changes. If you are not registered, please click here to find information on how to register to vote.
Step 2: Sign your application.
The requirement for a copy of a photo ID and/or notarization requirement is waived for stateside and overseas military and U.S. citizens residing outside of the United States.
Step 3: Send the application to the person in charge of the election.
Uniformed and overseas voters (UOCAVA) may submit their absentee ballot applications by mail or fax, or a signed and scanned image of the application may be submitted via e-mail to the appropriate county election official.
Step 4a: If you choose to have your ballot mailed to you, complete your ballot and mail it back to your county auditor.
Step 4b: If you choose to have your ballot sent to you electronically, you will receive an e-mail with login information and a link to the Military and Overseas Citizens (UOCAVA) Web Portal. Print your ballot, complete it, sign your envelope and mail it back to your county auditor.
Marked, official ballots may NOT be submitted through any electronic means (i.e. fax, email, etc.)
There are also several important things to keep in mind:
Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB)
If a UOCAVA voter has submitted an absentee ballot application but has not received the absentee ballot, a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) may be submitted. The FWAB may be accessed at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s website. The instructions on the site will take you through the process step by step. The Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment (MOVE) Act changed the law to have the FWAB recognized for all Federal Elections, including Primary, General, Secondary and Congressional Special Elections. When using the FWAB, only federal races may be voted on.
Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)
Service members, their eligible family members and overseas citizens can use the FPCA to both register to vote and request their absentee ballots. FVAP.gov offers an FPCA online assistant that guides users through the form-completion process, as well as, a fillable PDF form of the FPCA for download.