Signage at an early voting center on Sept. 23, 2016, in Minneapolis. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Historic shifts in South Dakota voter registration have culminated in a milestone: The number of voters registered as independents or without a political affiliation has surpassed the number of Democrats.
Independent and non-politically affiliated voters (those who leave the political affiliation blank when they first register) have been growing steadily in number since the 1990s. Meanwhile, Democratic registered voters have been in a steep decline since 2008.
Recently, for the first time, Democratic numbers dipped below the “other” category — the combined number of voters registered either as independent or with no affiliation.
According to the South Dakota Secretary of State’s Office, there are a combined 151,177 independent and non-politically affiliated registered voters in the state. There are 150,887 Democrats.
Republicans continue to be the largest political party in the state and recently surpassed the 300,000 registered-voter threshold. The number of registered Republicans in the state stands at 304,047, and Republicans hold every office that’s elected on a statewide basis.
Libertarians constitute the third largest political party in the state. They have 2,967 registered voters.
As Democrats deal with declining voter registration numbers, they’re also suffering inner-party strife. They removed their state party chairperson Saturday, following the resignation of the party’s executive director over allegations of a hostile work environment and alleged violations of the state party constitution.
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