More SD voters say ‘independent’PIERRE — Independent voters are surging in South Dakota. So are Republicans, but not Democrats.
By: Bob Mercer, The Daily Republic
PIERRE — Independent voters are surging in South Dakota.
So are Republicans, but not Democrats.
The latest voter registration numbers statewide show independents and Republicans have increased by some 6,000 apiece in the year since the June 2010 primary elections.
Democrats, meanwhile, lost about 100 people from the voter rolls.
There were 88,450 independents registered as of June 15, according to the latest numbers from the state elections office. That is a record number.
Republicans and Democrats, on the other hand, weren’t close to their peaks of past years.
The June 15 totals put Republicans at 240,055 and Democrats at 193,902.
There also were the usual smatterings of registrations in the Libertarian, Constitution and “other” categories.
Secretary of State Jason Gant, a Republican, oversees the state elections office.
He ties the trends in South Dakota to a greater uneasiness throughout the country.
“I think that many of these registration shifts reflect the national mood, and how satisfied swing voters are with the direction the country is going,” Gant said.
“I believe the high number of registered independent voters is reflective of the fact that as of yet, no front-runner has emerged from the field of presidential candidates, and voters are still in a shopping phase of trying to find a candidate who resonates with their values,” he continued.
Democrats have seen registration slide steadily backward in South Dakota from a peak of 206,086 in July 2009. They were able to add more than 15,000 voters in the 2007 to 2009 period, helped by the 2008 Democratic presidential primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. They’ve been on a downward trend again the past two years.
Republicans got as high in recent years as 242,774 in July 2009 and have lost 2,000 to 3,000 since then, depending on the month.
Independents have been the biggest gainer. Since 2002, they’ve added about 25,000 registrations, more than either the Democrats or Republicans.