How to Vote in South Dakota’s 2024 Elections

Posted on 05/07/24 by Maura Kelly Lannan

En español

Important dates and election information

Key dates

  • Presidential and state primary: Tuesday, June 4
  • General election: Tuesday, Nov. 5

Voting at a glance

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  • Absentee voting: All registered voters can request an absentee ballot.
  • Early voting: South Dakota does not offer early in-person voting, but you can cast an absentee ballot at your county auditor’s office before the presidential and state primary and the general election.

Voting in South Dakota

What to know about recent changes

A 2023 law prohibits the use of ballot drop boxes.

Voter registration

Register by mail or in person by Monday, May 20, for the presidential and state primary and by Monday, Oct. 21, for the general election:

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

Registering to vote on Election Day

South Dakota does not allow same-day voter registration.

Primary voting and party affiliation

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

Vote South Dakota
An American flag stands at a polling location in Sioux Falls on Tuesday, June 2, 2020.
Dan Brouillette/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Independent or NPA voters who plan to vote absentee in the presidential and state primary must choose a party ballot when filling out an absentee ballot application. Voters who don’t choose a party ballot will be sent a nonpolitical ballot, which includes only candidates running without a party affiliation as well as local ballot measures.

Ways to vote

Requesting an absentee ballot

Any registered voter can request an absentee ballot. Apply by mail, in person or using 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 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. You can complete your absentee ballot application and mark your ballot at the same time. 
  • 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. on Monday, June 3, for the presidential and state primary and on Monday, Nov. 4, for the general election. Applications to vote via an authorized messenger are due by 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4, for the presidential and state primary and by 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5, for the general elections. 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.

Returning your absentee ballot

Mark your ballot and place it in the return envelope. Sign your name on the reverse side of the return envelope. 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

Completed absentee ballots must be received on Tuesday, June 4, for the presidential and state primaries and Tuesday, Nov. 5, for the general election 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.

Track your ballot using the state’s voter portal.

Voting 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 for the presidential and state primary and general election.

Voting at the polls on Election Day

Use the state’s voter portal to find a polling place near you. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the state and presidential primaries and the general election.

Voter ID requirements on Election Day

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.

Voting with a disability

Voters have the option to use the ExpressVote machine, which shows an electronic version of the ballot on a screen. The machine also can read the ballot to you. You can mark your ballot using the touch screen or keypad.

More information about candidates

Key races:

  • U.S. President
  • U.S. House: one seat
  • State House: 70 seats
  • State Senate: 35 seats

Sample ballots will be available at the secretary of state’s website.

Editor’s note: This guide was originally published Jan. 30, 2024, and has been updated with new information about voting in the 2024 elections.

Maura Kelly Lannan is a writer, editor and producer for AARP who covers federal and state policy. She has worked as a reporter for the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune and the Waterbury, Connecticut, Republican-American. She also has written for Bloomberg Government, The Boston Globe and other publications. 

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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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