544,393 South Dakotans were registered to vote on Election Day. That’s a record, says Secretary of State Shantel Krebs. The 378,995 who turned out to exercise their right to vote didn’t set a record (381,975 South Dakotans cast Presidential votes in 2008), but Secretary Krebs is still pleased with turnout. She contends that ballot questions drove higher registration and turnout:
I think the ballot questions, having had 10 questions on the ballot about issues that would change state law or the constitution, people are really concerned and they wanted to show up and let their voices be heard on those ballot measures [Secretary of State Shantel Krebs, in Lee Strubinger, “Krebs Says South Dakotans Broke Election Day Records in State,” SDPB Radio, 2016.11.16].
We may not have found the magic to translating ballot questions into candidate votes, but if ballot measures can drive registration and turnout, and if we Democrats believe in “get out the vote” as an important campaign strategy, then we need to keep ballot questions in mind as a way to get our people to the polls.