How to Vote in South Dakota’s 2022 Elections

Posted on 06/05/22 by Emily Paulin, Elissa Chudwin

En español | South Dakota's Nov. 8 general election will decide races for U.S. House and Senate, state House and Senate, governor and several other state offices. The state’s primary was June 7.

Essential info:

  • Absentee voting: All registered voters can request an absentee ballot and vote from home for the general election. 
  • 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.
  • In-person voting on Election Day: The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


What's new this year?

Redistricting in South Dakota last year has redrawn certain boundaries of state House and Senate districts. These changes may affect which candidates appear on your ballot.

What races and other measures are on the ballot?

  • Governor: incumbent Gov. Kristi Noem (R), Jamie Smith (D)
  • U.S. Senate: Brian Bengs (D), incumbent Sen. John Thune (R)
  • U.S. House: Collin Duprel (L), incumbent Rep. Dusty Johnson (R)
  • State Senate: all 35 seats 
  • State House: all 70 seats 
  • Lieutenant Governor and other state offices
  • Constitutional Amendment D
  • Measure 27


How do I register to vote?

  • By mail: Print and complete a voter registration form and mail it to your county auditor. Include your current South Dakota driver’s license number or the last four digits of your Social Security number. Or call your county auditor’s office or the secretary of state’s office at 605-773-3537 and request that a registration form be mailed to you. 
  • In person: Visit your county auditor's office. Or visit a city finance office, public assistance agency, office of the Department of Human Services, military recruitment office, secretary of state’s office or attend a voter registration drive. You can also register at a driver’s license station when obtaining or updating your driver’s license. 

The deadline to register or update your voter information is Oct. 24.

Contact your county election official if you do not receive an acknowledgment notice within 15 days of the date you submitted your registration application.

Check if you’re registered to vote or view a sample ballot through the state’s Voter Information Portal.

How can I get an absentee ballot? Are there important deadlines?

Any registered voter can request an absentee ballot for November’s general election. Absentee ballot application forms are valid for one calendar year, so you’ll need to reapply for any elections beyond 2022. 

Apply for absentee ballots by mail and in person:

  • By mail: Download and complete an absentee ballot application form and 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 form. Or complete a notarized oath on the form (Section 7) swearing the information is true and correct.
  • In person: Fill out an absentee ballot application form at your county auditor's office. Bring an acceptable form of ID. If you visit your county auditor’s office after absentee voting has opened, you can complete your absentee ballot application and mark your ballot at the same time.
  • Through an authorized messenger: If sickness or disability keeps you from the polls, you can apply for an absentee ballot via an authorized messenger. Download, print and complete the absentee ballot application form, including the authorized messenger request section. An authorized messenger may pick up the ballot from the county auditor, then deliver the ballot to the qualified voter before returning the marked ballot to the county auditor. Any application for a ballot by authorized messenger must be received by the county auditor by 3 p.m. on Election Day. 

Election officials encourage those who wish to vote absentee by mail to submit their applications as soon as possible to ensure sufficient mail-delivery time. Once absentee voting opens on Sept. 23 for the general election, ballots are mailed within 48 hours of an application’s receipt.
For in-person absentee voting, return the forms to your county auditor’s office by 5 p.m. Nov. 7.

Only voters covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act can submit their application for absentee ballot via fax or email. The requirement for a copy of an acceptable photo ID or a notarized oath is waived for these voters.

How do I submit an absentee ballot? Are there important deadlines?

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 or at a secure drop box, if your county uses them. Absentee ballots cannot be returned to your polling place on Election Day. Contact your county auditor’s office for drop box locations. 
  • Through an authorized messenger: All voters can have someone deliver their ballot to the correct county auditor’s office or a secure drop box, if your county offers them. 

Completed absentee ballots must be received on Election Day with sufficient time for election officials to deliver them to the corresponding polling locations prior to the polls closing. Contact your county auditor to determine the local deadline. Ballots that are not received by the deadline will not be counted.

Can I track my absentee ballot?

Track your ballot using the state’s voter information 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. In-person absentee voting runs from Sept. 23 through Nov. 7 at 5 p.m.

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, including 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.

When is Election Day? When are polls open?

The general election is on Tuesday, Nov. 8.  Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Use the state's voter information portal to find a polling place near you. 

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on July 5 with information about how to vote in the general election. The guide was first published on Aug. 6, 2020. 

Also of Interest:

This story is provided by AARP South Dakota. Visit the AARP South Dakota page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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