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Voter Roll Trivia: GOP 49.5%, Dems 25.6%, Indies 24.2%

Once I start looking at the voter registration tables, I just keep going:

  1. Registered Republicans don’t make up a majority of South Dakota voters yet, but they are creeping close to 50%. As of August 17, 2022, 291,342 Republicans made up 49.52% of all registered voters in South Dakota. (Republicans haven’t been below 45% of South Dakota’s electorate in the last 16 years.)
  2. Democrats dropped below 26% of the electorate as of June 1. As of August 17, they have slid to 150,712 registrants, 25.62% of the electorate. Democrats were last above 30% of the electorate in March 2018; their recent historical high was 38.53% for the 2008 general election.
  3. Independents climbed above 24% of the electorate for the first time in February 2021, but their percentage has plateaud since. After peaking at 143,328 registrants and 24.35% of the electorate in September 2021, independents have declined to 142,170 registrants and 24.17% of the electorate. When the Secretary of State was lumping third-parties in with the indy count, those non-GOP/non-Dem voters made up just 14.71% of the electorate.
  4. The gap between Democrats and independents dropped below 10,000 some time in May; as of August 17, South Dakota had just 8,542 more Democrats than registered independents in South Dakota, a gap of 1.45 percentage points out of the total electorate.
  5. Independents outnumber Democrats in 16 counties, including 8 of the 10 counties with the largest voter rolls: Pennington, Meade, Lincoln, Union, Lawrence, Brookings, Minnehaha, and Yankton.
  6. Democrats outnumber Republicans in 9 counties: Oglala Lakota, Todd, Dewey, Roberts, Buffalo, Ziebach, Corson, Clay, and Bennett. Clay ranks 14th for total voter registration; Oglala Lakota ranks 15th; Roberts, 19th. The other six Democratic counties each have fewer than 5,000 total voters. Clay is the only Democratic-dominated county not on or adjacent to an Indian reservation.
  7. The percentage of Republican voters is greater than the percentage of Democratic voters by over 50 points in 15 counties. Harding, Campbell, and Haakon counties have GOP advantages over Dems of greater than 70 percentage points. The largest county with a 50+ point GOP advantage is Butte, with 4,223 Republicans and 840 Democrats out of 6,501 voters total, a 52-percentage-point gap. Butte is the 18th-largest county by total voter registration; none of the other 50+ point GOP advantage counties have more than 5,000 voters total.


  1. ABC 2022-08-18 07:43

    Independents don’t stand for anything. They are Republicans Lite.

    A Party that inspires action, that’s what needed.

  2. David Newquist 2022-08-18 09:24

    Some years ago, when I was in charge of the donor rolls for our county political party, the dwindling of Democrats in the state became apparent. The decline, we discovered, is an aspect of the brain drain. The state provides no reason for the educated classes to stay here. We lose one bunch when they leave for college and another when college graduates leave for further education and jobs.

  3. larry kurtz 2022-08-18 09:43

    It does seem unsustainable yet those unaffiliated voters aren’t running for local elections either, are they? Or are they concerned for they own personal safety now that Trumpistan has declared open season on democracy?

  4. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-08-18 10:19

    larry, voters who are not openly and publiclyTrump humpers in Fall River County ARE scared for their personal safety and property. I’ve Biden/Harris 2020 stickers on my truck, which a “patriot” beat with a baseball bat in broad daylight on Albany Avenue in the Hot Springs Ace Hardware parking lot while an employee watched.

    I’ve been “accosted” twice at Lynn’s DakotaMart; the second time a HUGE woman (and I’m not sylph myself) got me by my hoodie strings and strangled me; I managed to reach into the bed of my truck for my 38″ crowbar and thumped her a few times. It was probably a draw, but I didn’t wait to watch her waddle off; I had a pressing appointment that precluded an interview with a deputy.

  5. Richard Schriever 2022-08-18 10:20

    Technically, Bennet County is not reservation land, though it is surrounded by same.

  6. Richard Schriever 2022-08-18 10:25

    Meanwhile in Lincoln County, my Biden/Harris yard sign in 2020 lasted exactly 2 days before being pilfered, yet there are MAGA banners of various sorts still floating on the porches and poles of several houses in town. I have installed motion sensing lights and 24/7 cameras with facial recognition on front and rear yards. It’s not just “brain drain” it is a violence inclusive population purge.

  7. larry kurtz 2022-08-18 10:31

    You would love New Mexico, Ms. Fairbank.

    Open and concealed carry on South Dakota campuses: don’t we all know where that’s headed?

  8. Megan 2022-08-18 11:10

    I know a lot of folks who have switched their registration to republican only so they can have some say in primary elections in our state, working to get the extremists out of the state legislature at the very least. My parents were lifelong republicans. Dad switched in 08 to vote for Obama in the primary, but they’re both registered R now, though they’re far from Trump supporters. I’d be interested to know how common this is.

  9. P. Aitch 2022-08-18 13:17

    @Bonnie – Proud of you.

  10. All Mammal 2022-08-18 14:58

    Thanks to your link a few days ago, P. Aitch, my sister and I are walking zombies from binge-watching Reservation Dogs. We can totally relate to teasing as the primary sign of affection, like the ribbing they endure and dish out in the show. Even now in our family, if you’re never the butt of jokes, you’re not very well liked. I can see this show being a great discussion tool for mature students. The show would make a great on-stage musical or theatre performance in high school drama. Not a bad show for young Natives, who rarely see people from the reservation or who look like them, finally portrayed on TV.

    Megan-I have teetered with converting to registering to (R) in order to participate in voting against the scarier maniac running in the primaries. That would probably be the catalyst to get me summoned for jury duty. Most republicans I know can’t dodge jury duty, yet I have never been asked. The day I turned 18 I registered to vote. And bought a skin mag, because I could. I’d become a Rino for the team.

  11. Arlo Blundt 2022-08-18 15:54

    Interesting point, Megan. In South Dakota people register Republican for all kinds of reasons, many of those reasons aren’t political but social, business related, religion oriented, or familial. How many are firmly in the Trump camp?? While I don’t have any evidence, I’d guess about 40% of total voters. The Sutton-Noem race revealed a good deal about the commitment of Republicans to always vote for every Republican.

  12. Guy 2022-08-18 23:28

    So, Bonnie Fairbank & Richard Schriever, should I think twice before putting my new Jamie Smith bumper magnet on my car? Since it’s a magnet, I was thinking of just putting it on my car when I was driving around. But, then again…I don’t want to end up in a ditch?!? Maybe, I better just leave the magnet home on the refrigerator? What do you both think? Is it worth it?

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-19 05:43

    Good correction, Richard! I’ll add “or adjacent to” that statement about the Indian-heavy nature of the strongest Democratic counties.

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-19 05:49

    Guy, yes, it’s worth it. I’ve heard from folks in Sioux Falls and Rapid City that they are seeing more Smith signs than Noem signs. Help those faithful spread the word and counter the narrative that folks not lining up behind the one-party regime are not true members of the community.

    Plus, Guy, I don’t think Noem is inspiring the same level of local bullying support as Trump. The criminal violence Richard and Bonnie describe was inspired by displays of support for Biden/Harris, not Noem/Rhoden. The Trumpists themselves don’t seem as generally ready to fight and die for Noem/Rhoden. The SDGOP is rife with the sentiment that Noem is unfit for office. You may not convince the bullies that Trump is just as much of a knucklehead as Noem, but you may get quiet agreement that Noem should be thrown out of office.

  15. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-08-19 08:00

    I think if you bought the magnet and endorse Jamie Smith then you should be proud to display it. I only wish my Biden/Harris 2020 stickers were three times larger than they are. It is SOOOOO worth it to make Trump’s weaseld*ck supporters get all apoplectic and foam at the mouth while they mangle the simple phrase “F*CK JOE BIDEN!”
    If I (still) have to drive past a 2ft. x 3ft. sign, posted on state property, that proclaims TRUMP 2020 NO MORE BULLSH*T every time I go into Hot Springs, then I reckon the losers supporting a loser can stuff it.

  16. ABC 2022-08-19 09:00

    Christians with FXXK Joe Biden signs?

    We need a Nonchristian First Amendment Governor who welcomes all people!

    Maybe the State can open an Office to EXPEDITE all the Trumpers and Noem-ites who want to move to Fascist Hungary, and they cam taste
    the fruits of their thought there.

  17. Guy 2022-08-19 10:18

    Thank you for your input Cory and Bonnie! I will proudly drive around with my Jamie Smith bumper magnet displayed on my car. I just wish they would have come up with bumper magnets a long time ago, rather than bumper stickers that wreck your car’s exterior. I also think Jamie Smith’s campaign is doing something clever here: rather than handing out all these free campaign items, why not charge a little money for it and ask for a donation? It invests people more into the campaign, making them contribute while receiving something in return. I think that’s the way political campaigns should move forward instead of just giving out free stuff, plus they can charge a little for better quality items like bumper magnets instead of stickers. I also gave a donation on top of my bumper magnet purchase. This type of giving also leads to more smaller grassroots donations in addition to having your campaign material store online like Jamie does. I’d rather support a candidate like Jamie who’s going to get the bulk of his money from small grassroots donations and online campaign store purchases than Kristi Noem’s huge DARK MONEY war chest of wealthy out of state donors, like the Koch Brothers.

  18. Loti 2022-08-19 21:45

    Hot Springs is nice but being Native, i watch what i do and would never dare put a democrat politician name on my car. Thats sad in SD to still be worried about white people.

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