Voting

The South Dakota Secretary of State's Office in Pierre. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Post-election audit rules spark debate on voter intent

BY: - September 27, 2023

The perceived daylight between the terms “manual count” and “hand count” proved contentious during discussions of post-election audit rules that inched closer to implementation on Wednesday in Pierre. The rules represent South Dakota’s first foray into post-election audits, which are routinely done in most states. Creating such an audit process was a key campaign issue […]

Signage at an early voting center on Sept. 23, 2016, in Minneapolis. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

On Democracy Day, newsrooms unite for pro-democracy coverage

BY: - September 15, 2023

It’s no secret: U.S. democracy is under serious threat. Politicians use rigged maps to entrench themselves in power, allowing them to ignore the will of voters. Hundreds of members of Congress, state lawmakers, and top state officials — including chief elections officials — deny the results of the last presidential contest. And a leading candidate […]

Signage at an early voting center on Sept. 23, 2016, in Minneapolis. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Democratic voter registration falls behind ‘other’ category in South Dakota

BY: - August 21, 2023

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. […]

A voter shows identification to an election judge during primary voting on May 3, 2022, in Lordstown, Ohio. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

National bill on voting standards pushed anew by Democrats in Congress

BY: - July 18, 2023

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats on Tuesday said they plan to again introduce a bill to set national voting standards in response to state legislatures passing strict voting laws. The bill, known in a previous Congress as the Freedom to Vote Act, would establish national standards for early voting, mail-in ballots and protection of poll workers […]

Signage at an early voting center on Sept. 23, 2016, in Minneapolis. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Changes in state election laws have little impact on results, new study finds

BY: - July 15, 2023

In recent years, U.S. politics has been consumed by partisan fights over states’ election policies. But a new study by two political scientists is causing a stir by finding that state legislators’ changes to election laws — both those that tighten election rules in the name of integrity, and those that loosen rules to expand […]

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U.S. House Republicans pass overhaul of federal elections system out of committee

BY: - July 14, 2023

WASHINGTON — On a party-line vote, the U.S. Committee on House Administration on Thursday night passed a bill that would enact strict new voting laws for states, such as requiring copies of IDs for voting by mail, and set penalties for states that allow voting by noncitizens in local elections. The 224-page bill, H.R. 4563, […]

A sign identifies a polling place during a city and school election on June 6, 2023, in Rapid City. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

Civil rights committee finds Native voting rights impeded, finalizes recommendations

BY: - July 10, 2023

Native Americans living on tribal land face many barriers to their voting rights, according to a new report finalized Monday by a civil rights committee. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is an independent, bipartisan agency established in 1957. The commission’s mission is to investigate and report on issues related to civil rights, and to […]

COMMENTARY
Secretary of State-Elect Monae Johnson celebrates her Nov. 8, 2022, election victory. Behind Johnson (from left) stands her campaign manager, Gretchen Weible, and Weible's husband Rick Weible. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Seeking election integrity behind closed doors

BY: - June 19, 2023

The shouting about the mishandling of the 2020 presidential election has been long-winded and false. However, it has led a number of states, including South Dakota, to make moves designed to increase election integrity. One move was the passage in the last legislative session of Senate Bill 160 which requires county auditors to conduct a […]

A voter fills out a ballot on Nov. 8, 2022, at a polling place in Sioux Falls. (Joshua Haiar/SD Searchlight)

SD election roundup: Rapid City’s new mayor, Mitchell’s new athletic facilities, wastewater nuisance vote

BY: - June 7, 2023

South Dakotans across the state cast ballots in local government elections Tuesday, making decisions that will decide the trajectory of their cities and schools in years to come. Elections included Rapid City’s mayoral race — where South Dakota’s second largest city will be led by a new mayor for the first time in eight years […]

COMMENTARY
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The exception to South Dakota’s pioneering role in direct democracy

BY: - May 30, 2023

An effort to kick Baltic Mayor Deborah McIsaac out of office over a fight about a housing development highlights a surprising fact about South Dakota’s political process: Voters have been unusually hesitant to use recall elections against officials. As the very first state to adopt the initiative and referendum back in 1898, the Mount Rushmore […]

COMMENTARY
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Ballot petition efforts alive and well, despite the Legislature

BY: - May 15, 2023

Despite the attempts by some legislators to quash the will of the people, ballot petition drives in South Dakota seem to be thriving. Well before the next election in 2024, the secretary of state’s website already lists four measures that are circulating for petition signatures. These include constitutional amendments for open primaries, abortion rights and […]

A vote-here sign, pictured on Nov. 8, 2022, at the All Souls Church on Cliff Avenue in Sioux Falls. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Native American advocates criticize new election laws as civil rights group drafts recommendations

BY: - May 2, 2023

South Dakota’s Legislature passed 19 election-related bills over the winter, but Native American voting rights advocates say none of the bills addressed their concerns about voter suppression. Meanwhile, some of those advocates are serving on a federal civil rights committee that’s developing recommendations to improve Native American participation in elections. Republican leaders described bills they […]