Secretary of State Shantel Krebs provides a nifty little map showing voter registration totals by county around the state. Secretary Krebs even thoughtfully colors in each county to show which party has the largest number of registered voters:
Pink is for GOP pre-eminence; pale grey is for Dem pluralities. On the interactive map, rolling the pointer over a county renders the county name illegible, but Team Krebs makes up for that design flaw by reprinting the county name over the summary of party affiliations in-county to the right (as shown above in the screen cap of Roberts County data).
The Republicans have pluralities in 49 out of 66 counties, including the fourteen counties with the most registered voters (which themselves encompass 69% of the electorate). Only three counties without large American Indian populations—Clay, Miner, and Aurora—enjoy Democratic numerical supremacy.
Statewide, Republicans make up 46.1% of the electorate; Democrats make up 33.5%; Independents constitute 16.5%. There are 66,160 more South Dakota Republicans than South Dakota Democrats.
If I were sitting in the big chair at South Dakota Democratic Party headquarters, I’d post two numbers over my desk: 16 and 66,160. Those are the numbers of counties and voters, respectively, we’d need to grab to reach parity with the GOP. The county count would be easier to grab: the sixteen counties with the lowest GOP numerical advantage over Dems could be tinted blue by registering just 5,383 more Democrats. Coloring counties blue would be more feather in the cap than election tilter. Eating into the 39,145 GOP voter advantage in Lawrence, Meade, Pennington, Lincoln, and Minnehaha counties would go much further in advancing Democratic fortunes in statewide races and multiple legislative districts that in urban liberal heaven ought to be blue.