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SB 69: Allow Registered Voters to Update Records Online

Secretary of State Steve Barnett has struggled to get his own party to support online voter registration. 42 states and the District of Columbia offer online voter registration, but not South Dakota, because, you know, making it easier for people to participate in democracy is dangerous to the health of Republicans. Even when Senate State Affairs scaled last year’s bill back to exclude new registrations and simply allow registered voters to update their information online, this minor modernization and convenience for voters stalled in House State Affairs.

Secretary Barnett and the State Board of Elections are staying small this year, offering just one bill, Senate Bill 69, to allow voters to update existing registrations online but not make new registrations. SB elaborates on last year’s proposal, adding phone number and email to the information voters may update through the secure electronic system that the Secretary of State will build. SB 69 also specifies the security protocols the update system must follow: the SOS must connect the voter system to the driver license database to verify driver license or ID card number, last five SSN digits, full name, date of birth, and signature. (If you’ve used any web-based signature-collecting system, you’d better look for an iPad and Pencil, because if you use a non-touch laptop or desktop, your mouse penmanship will never match your physical driver license signature!)

This tiny step toward more convenience for voters to keep their registration data current is the only bill in the hopper so far dealing with voting. But on the bright side, SB 69 is the only bill in the hopper so far dealing with voting; we’re 138 bills in, and so far, no Republicans have filed bills to make voting harder.

Now if only we could get someone to sneak an amendment into House Bill 1025 to add the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November to the list of official state holidays….

Related Reading: A new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds that while the technical issues of voting that excite election nerds like Secretary Barnett and myself don’t rouse as much enthusiasm from the general public, the essential reforms in the Democratic Freedom to Vote Act awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate, including making Election Day a federal holiday, win majority support:

  • Expanding access to early voting: 65% support, 23% oppose
  • Prohibiting partisan gerrymandering: 64% support, 19% oppose
  • Making it illegal to prevent someone from registering to vote: 62% support, 24% oppose
  • Making Election Day a federal holiday: 61% support, 26% oppose
  • Expanding same-day voter registration: 56% support, 30% oppose
  • Expanding access to voting by mail: 55% support, 35% oppose
  • Allowing Americans with prior criminal convictions to vote: 54% support, 32% oppose
  • Expanding automatic voter registration: 51% support, 33% oppose [Ryan Lizza and Eugene Daniels, “Our Exclusive New Poll on Voting Rights,” Politico: Playbook, 2022.01.12].

An online system to update our voter registration is nice, but Americans want bigger reforms that help all citizens participate in our democratic system of government. Think bigger, Secretary Barnett, and work on your fellow Republicans to do the same!


  1. Donald Pay 2022-01-12 08:41

    I’m not sure why making it easier to register to vote and to cast a ballot is seen as bad for Republicans, especially in South Dakota most people register as Republicans. Making government work like a business should be right in the Republican wheelhouse. Most successful businesses make it easier for customers to use their services. Why not government? If I were SOS Barnett, I’d amend that bill to expand services, such as election day registration, on-line registration, Democracy in the Park days, etc.

  2. Mark Anderson 2022-01-12 09:42

    If your a trumpet your opposed. It’s about winning and not fairness.

  3. Jake 2022-01-12 09:53

    I agree with Donald Pay-they (GOP) should be in favor of making it easier. I also agree with Cory in regards to today’s GOP’s mindset on voting. They have lost 8 of the last 9 presidential election’s popular vote but have done quite good in some state elections where they have gerrymandering control by which they choose their voters.

  4. Mike 2022-01-12 12:39


    I have been told SOS has had substantial amounts of turnover in the elections division and throughout the office over disagreements with leadership.

    Is there a way to know if staff actually left over the past year or if that is just rumor. Can you find out someone’s last day?

  5. Porter Lansing 2022-01-12 15:53

    Republicans swore up and down that mail-in ballots would be the downfall of Colorado. It’s now agreed, seven years later, that mail-in ballots, as one option of several ways to vote, favors no political party or ideology. Crying before you’re hurt is a MAGA tenet.

  6. mike from iowa 2022-01-12 17:22

    Surprised magats haven’t hired someone to slow the internet down, just like the USPS was and still is.

  7. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-01-14 17:41

    Frankly, I do not know why anyone in Fall River County registers to vote. I’ve lived here since June 26, 2001, which means I’ve been in the juror pool for trials since then. I’m one of them there stunods that took it seriously, and EFF ME, NEVER AGAIN.
    I’ve been summoned for jury duty three times since 2001; every time it was MY responsibility to call the Clerk of Courts every Friday for the designated three months for the opportunity to put my life on hold.
    Showed up at the courthouse twice; first time one of the lawyers called in sick; second time the circuit court judge just “couldn’t get there.” All potential jurors were admonished if we claimed the ten bucks we were owed we’d better claim it on our federal income taxes.

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