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AARP AARP States South Dakota Voters

How to Register, Vote and Track Your Ballot in South Dakota

En español | Any registered voter in South Dakota may vote absentee, but the state does not have a formal early in-person voting program. 

The next statewide primary election will be June 4, 2024, and the general election will be Nov. 5, 2024.

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Essential info:

  • Absentee voting: All registered voters can request an absentee ballot.
  • Early in-person voting: South Dakota doesn’t offer early in-person voting, but you can cast an absentee ballot at your county auditor's office before Election Day.

Have there been any recent changes to voting in South Dakota?

A 2023 law prohibits the use of ballot drop boxes. And redistricting in 2021 redrew certain boundaries of state House and Senate districts.

How do I register to vote?

Register by mail or in person:

  • By mail: Print, fill out and sign a voter registration form from the state’s voter portal, then mail it to your county auditor. Include your current South Dakota driver’s license number or nondriver ID number, or the last four digits of your Social Security number. You can also call your county auditor’s office or the secretary of state’s office at 605-773-3537 to request a form.

Contact your county election official if you do not receive an acknowledgment notice within 15 days of the date you submitted your registration application. The voter registration deadline for the 2024 primary is May 20, 2024, and the deadline for the general election is Oct. 21, 2024.

Use the state’s voter portal to check your voter registration status.    

Does my party affiliation matter when I vote in the primaries?

South Dakota’s Democratic primary is open to registered Democrats and independent/no party affiliation (NPA) voters, but not Republicans. Its Libertarian primary is open to voters registered as Libertarian, independent or NPA. Its Republican primary is limited to registered Republicans. 

Independent or NPA voters who plan to vote absentee must choose a party ballot when filling out an absentee ballot application. Voters who fail to designate a party ballot will be sent a nonpolitical ballot, which includes only candidates running without a party affiliation and/or local ballot measures.

How can I get an absentee ballot?

Any registered voter can request an absentee ballot. Note that absentee ballot application forms are valid for one calendar year.

Apply online, by mail or via an authorized messenger, if eligible.

  • By mail: Download and complete an absentee ballot application form. Mail your original, signed application to your county auditor's office. Attach a copy of an acceptable form of ID — such as a South Dakota driver's license, a South Dakota nondriver ID card, passport or tribal photo ID — to your application. Or complete a notarized oath on the form (Section 7) swearing the information is true and correct.
  • Using an authorized messenger: If sickness or disability keeps you from the polls, you can apply for an absentee ballot via an authorized messenger. The authorized messenger may pick up and return your ballot to the county auditor for you. Download, print and complete the absentee ballot application form, including the authorized messenger request section. Authorized messengers must let their county auditor’s office know if they are delivering ballots for more than one person.

Your application is due by mail or in person by 5 p.m. the day before an election. If you’re returning your application via an authorized messenger, it is due by 3 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots are mailed within 48 hours of an application’s receipt.

Only voters covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act can submit their application for an absentee ballot via fax or email.

How do I submit an absentee ballot?

Return your completed absentee ballot:

  • By mail: Follow the instructions that accompany your absentee ballot, then mail your ballot with proper postage to your county auditor’s office.
  • In person: Drop off your completed ballot at your county auditor’s office. Absentee ballots cannot be returned to your polling place on Election Day.
  • Using an authorized messenger: All voters can have someone deliver their ballot to the correct county auditor’s office.

Completed absentee ballots must be received on Election Day with sufficient time for election officials to deliver them to the corresponding polling locations before the polls close. Contact your county auditor to determine the deadline.

Can I track my absentee ballot?

Track your ballot using the state’s voter portal.

Can I vote in person before Election Day?

South Dakota doesn’t offer early in-person voting, but you can go to your county auditor's office to complete and submit an absentee ballot in person.

Do I need identification to vote?

Yes. All voters applying for an absentee ballot or voting at a polling place on Election Day need to show an approved photo ID, such as a state-issued driver’s license, state-issued student ID, U.S. passport or tribal ID.  

If you do not have an approved photo ID while voting in-person absentee or at the polls, you may complete a personal identification affidavit and still vote a regular ballot. This affidavit may not be used as a substitute for the ID requirements for the absentee ballot application.

What do I need to know about voting at the polls on Election Day?

Use the state's voter portal to find a polling place near you. 

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on June 28, 2023, with information about the upcoming 2024 elections. The guide was first published on Aug. 6, 2020. 

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