S.D. registered voters have no excuse to not vote in elections


ANDREA CARLILE Hunter Dunteman is the News Editor for the SDSU Collegian.

Hunter Dunteman

I voted.

I didn’t just vote, I voted early. And because of the amount of time South Dakota allocates for early voting, there truly is no excuse to not vote.

South Dakota offers three different ways to vote. You can vote in person at your precinct on election day, you can vote early at your registered courthouse or you can absentee vote by mail.

These voting techniques are not unique to South Dakota. 34 states plus the District of Columbia offer early voting, and every state allows some form of mail voting.

But, South Dakota offers a spin on an otherwise normal option.

South Dakota registered voters can vote as early as 45 days before the general election. This period is the second-earliest permission in the nation — Minnesota allows early voting as many as 46 days before.

To put this into perspective, Kansas law only requires early voting be available for as few as seven days before an election.

South Dakota voters also have an advantage known as no-excuse absentee voting. This allows voters to submit an absentee ballot via mail without providing an explanation for their inability to make the polls on election day. Twenty states require a valid excuse before a voter can use an absentee ballot.

Early and absentee voting is a concept more and more Americans are picking up on. Politico reported earlier this week that a staggering 36 million Americans took advantage of early voting opportunities this year. That’s a 32 percent increase from last year’s 27.2 million.

In the 2014 midterm elections, Texas, Nevada and Arizona had more registered voters submit a ballot early or through mail than actually show up to the polls.

In a political cycle in which tensions are higher than any election cycle I’ve ever learned about, voter turnout is a major key in the result of the election.

With South Dakota being one of the more lenient states in regards to voting options, I hope that you, too, were able to vote this election.

There’s no room for excuses anymore, South Dakota.