Tuesday's primary means election season is in full swing. Here's what you need to know.
Any questions regarding ballots, their contents, polling places or other election questions should be directed to a county auditor or the Office of the Secretary of State.
MITCHELL — Tuesday’s primary election is fast-approaching, when candidates in the Mitchell area will learn their fate in certain races and constitutional amendments will either get the nod or shown to the door.
Here’s a look at what voters need to know before heading to the polls:
When, where and how to vote
To vote in Tuesday’s primary, residents will need to already be a registered voter. South Dakota law states that voter registrations must be received by a county auditor 15 days before an election for a voter to cast a ballot. Voters who did not register in time will have to wait until the general election in November to vote.
For the 2022 primary, the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time on Tuesday. South Dakota requires proof of identification to cast a ballot, so voters must provide a South Dakota drivers license, state ID, passport, military ID, tribal ID or other form of acceptable ID before they can receive a ballot.
According to the Davison County Auditor’s Office, four polling places will operate on Tuesday. Residents of precinct one will vote at the Ethan Town Finance Office, while residents of precinct two will vote at the Mount Vernon Senior Center. Residents of precincts three through 13 will vote at the Davison County Fairgrounds and residents of precincts 14-20 will vote at the Mitchell Career & Technical Education Academy.
Voters who are uncertain of which precinct they reside in can search their polling place on the South Dakota Secretary of State’s Voter Information Portal.
Early or absentee voting
South Dakota allows registered voters to vote early or via mail for a variety of reasons, including military service, planned absences, extended sickness or disability. Many states expanded their mail-in voting allowances in areas significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some voters prefer to fill out their ballots in-person, but still ahead of election day. Similar to voting absentee, voters can request permission at the Davison County Courthouse and vote using stations established in the courthouse’s lobby.
Those interested in early voting at the courthouse must return a completed ballot to the county auditor by no later than 5 p.m. on the day before the election.
According to Susan Kiepke, Davison County auditor, 878 early and absentee ballots had been taken out, as of 4 p.m. Thursday.
“There’s still people in line now,” she added. “It’s just gotten busier and busier every day.”
What’s on the ballot?
Which races appear on a ballot depends entirely on where a voter lives. Local races will only appear on the ballots of residents living within a certain boundary, so a ballot in Mitchell will look slightly different than a ballot in Mount Vernon.
Ballots in primary elections are also divided based upon the party a voter is registered to. Registered Republican voters will only be able to vote in Republican races, while those registered as Democrats or Independents will both be able to vote in Democratic races.
Non-political races, such as seats on the school board or positions as a circuit judge, will appear on all ballots within the boundaries of the race, regardless of party. Ballot questions such as constitutional amendments and initiated measures will also appear on all ballots.
Statewide races and questions
Registered Republicans will have the opportunity to vote for incumbent Kristi Noem or her party challenger Steve Haugaard. Registered Democrats will not have a vote for governor in the primary race, as Jamie Smith is not facing a primary challenger.
Registered Republicans will choose between incumbent Dusty Johnson and Republican challenger Taffy Howard. Democrats do not have a candidate running for U.S. Representative, and will not be able to vote for the seat.
On the Republican ballot, incumbent John Thune is challenged twice, by Mark Mowry and Bruce Whalen. Democrats will not get a vote, as Brian Bengs is running unopposed in the party.
All South Dakotans, regardless of party, will be able to vote for Amendment C, a proposed change to the constitution that would implement a rule requiring a three-fifths majority of voters must approve any initiated measure, constitutional amendment or referred measure that would impose or increase taxes.