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Pandemic Doesn’t Stop Biggest Growth in Voter Rolls over Past Decade

Monday’s voter registration count shows that, over the past year, 30,889 more people have signed up to vote. That’s a 12-month increase of 5.64%, to 578,656. Compare that with one-year electoral growth rates for the last few general elections, and you see 2020 has sparked more new-voter interest than usual:

Year Growth in voter rolls in 12 months prior to general election
2010 0.19%
2012 2.90%
2014 –2.31%
2016 4.77%
2018 2.15%
2020 5.64%

Even with the coronavirus pandemic shutting down a lot of normal political activity, this election has prompted bigger growth in our voter rolls than any other election of the past decade. Good job stepping up, South Dakota!

Republicans account for nearly two thirds of this year’s new voters. The GOP signed up 19,331 new voters, compared to 3,019 new Democrats, 8,801 indies, 420 Libertarians, and 38 others (go Green!). On Election Day, with a party record of 277,782 registered voters, Republicans constitute 48.00% of South Dakota’s electorate. The Democrats’ 158,833 voters remain within the decade-low range where they’ve floated since 2018; they sink a couple more notches to 27.45% of the electorate. Indies’ record high of 138,329 registered voters gives them 23.91%.

The Secretary of State also reported new early voting totals yesterday. As of close of business Monday, 216,140 South Dakotans had cast a ballot. That’s 13,676 more early ballots than reported on Friday and 37.35% of the folks registered to vote as of yesterday. You other 362,516 voters, today is your day. Put on your mask, go to the polls, and put that vote to good use.

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