The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota held a “Know Your Rights” seminar for voters last night in Sioux Falls. For all of us voters, ACLU-SD offers these good tips to protect and exercise our right to vote:
- Check your voter registration status at least 30 days before the election.
- Locate your polling place and note the hours of operation.
- Consider voting early or absentee if possible. If you plan to vote at the polls, go early in the day to avoid the last-minute rush.
- Make sure your ID is valid and up to date.
- If anyone challenges you about voting, don’t get mad—get help [ACLU-SD, “Know Your Rights: Voting in South Dakota,” downloaded 2016.10.12].
Checking your voter registration status is important. If you haven’t voted for a few years, the Secretary of State may have purged your name from the rolls. If you’ve moved and forgotten to re-register, you may stroll down to your current county courthouse and find they don’t have you on their books. And heck, computers do eat data. So hit the Voter Information Portal via your Web browser or download the Vote605 app for your tablet or phone, punch in your name and birthdate (or, on Vote605, your ZIP), and make sure you’re on the voter roll.
If you’re not registered, hop to it! State law (SDCL 12-4-5) requires voters to register no later than fifteen days before the general election—this year, that’s Monday, October 24.
And remember: the poll workers will ask for your ID (SDCL 12-18-6.1 says South Dakota driver’s license, passport, other federal photo ID, tribal photo ID card, or student photo ID will do the job), but if you don’t have one on you, you can ask to fill out the affidavit (SDCL 12-18-6.2) and still cast your ballot.