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South Dakota Runs Out of Paper for Car Titles; Ballot Shortage Next?

Used car prices may be headed downward… although higher interest rates mean you’ll only get a better deal than you would have last year if you pay cash.

But South Dakotans hoping to take advantage of a price slide may have trouble dealing and wheeling, since the Department of Revenue’s Motor Vehicle Division is running out of paper and can’t print titles until February:

Due to paper supply issues, the South Dakota Department of Revenue’s Motor Vehicle Division has stopped printing paper titles effective immediately. The paper used for printing titles is very unique as it has built in security features to prevent fraud. The Department anticipates being able to start printing paper titles mid-February 2023.

If an individual has a legitimate reason for acquiring a paper title, they can request one by using an online form found here: Reasons for requesting a printed paper title include the titled owner moving out of state or the vehicle ownership needing to be transferred.  If there is a lien on the vehicle title, the lienholder will have to request that the title be printed. All requests will be reviewed and processed as paper supplies allow.

Titles are still being processed and individuals are able to check the status of their paperwork using their VIN number using the following website page: [South Dakota Department of Revenue—Motor Vehicle Division, press release, 2022.11.09].

The global paper shortage (driven, apparently, by a general decrease in demand that has led to paper mills going out of business or switching to more profitable operations) is affecting more than just car titles. Ballots required 30 million pounds of paper this year, and while we appear to have gotten through the midterms without too many instances of polling places running out of ballots, election officials need to plan ahead to avert ballot shortages for the 2024 elections.

I know all you Monae Johnson freaks are keen on inefficient hand counts of paper ballots, but if the free market makes it hard to get paper, we may have to seriously consider an electronic alternative to ballots as well as car titles.


  1. grudznick 2022-11-13 09:52

    I say we do away with the mail in ballots on paper and make everybody march into the voting place and state their intentions to a gaggle of old ladies from the Jolly Elders Coffee Clutch who will mark down a running tally. Alternatively, and Ms. Monae will really enjoy this, we set up computers that people walk up to and push buttons, or even just vote with a blog like the Survey Monkey.

  2. All Mammal 2022-11-13 09:56

    I make paper out of junk mail. Who needs a shredder when you can make pulp? 30,000,000 lbs of paper ballots should be turned back into titles and other government forms. Waste is a deadly sin.

  3. Donald Pay 2022-11-13 12:25

    Contra Grudz, I prefer paper. When it comes to books, I want the real thing to hold in my warm live hands, not Kindle. I much prefer sitting down to a newsPAPER on Sunday mornings, though I have stopped my subscriptions when it got too expensive. I prefer my magazines formatted on glossy paper. When it comes to ballots, I want paper with hanging chads, that I can fill in. I know it’s not environmentally the best, but I make exceptions. Paper is the best invention of out human culture, and printing the second best.

  4. Donald Pay 2022-11-13 12:26

    should read “without hanging chads…”

  5. Arlo Blundt 2022-11-13 14:21

    Hold the phone…we have millions of dollars laying around doing nothing and we have no paper for an essential government service??? Again, Noem cannot govern.

  6. Mark Anderson 2022-11-13 18:13

    Can’t you order it from China?

  7. Dana P 2022-11-13 23:02

    I’m sure there is a paper shortage, but man oh man, getting titles from Dept of Motor Vehicles is about more than just a paper issue.

    Purchased an enclosed trailer in May to assist me in my out-of-state move. I just received the South Dakota title for it last month. Repeated calls to South Dakota Motor Vehicle to see where the title was were of no help. Either no one ever answered the phone or…… was asked to leave a voicemail and someone would return my call ‘as soon as possible’. Well, ‘as soon as possible’ never came. Finally was able to reach a real person in September, who told me ‘we are running about 6-8 weeks behind on titles’. When I told her that I had been waiting since May, much more than 6-8 weeks, she apologized and said they are overwhelmed.

    When I took all of my South Dakota titles to the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles to get my vehicles/trailers registered here and get my Colorado titles, the nice employee wondered why all of them were on different colored paper. We both had a good laugh about that. And she told me to expect my new Colorado titles in 7-10 days. Sure enough, they arrived the following week. Not FOUR MONTHS later.

    Crazy stuff

  8. Jake 2022-11-14 09:12

    Kristy Noem’s governance is simply a means of getting attention-not for serving her state….

  9. John 2022-11-15 11:03

    It’s constantly AMAZING how far behind the world leaders are the state and US federal government. Paper titles? Why not require wax seals with an impressed stamp? Come on.
    Ukraine grabbed the opportunity to put routine government functions on line.

    SD and the US need a cabinet position of ‘digital ministry’.

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