Midterm Turnout Higher in 2018 Compared to 2014, Still Falls Short of Presidential Election Years
As is typical across the nation, more South Dakotans tend to vote in years with a presidential election than in midterm election years. In 2016, 72.6% of registered voters in South Dakota cast ballots, according to data from the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office. In 2018, the most recent non-presidential election year, just 62.7 % of registered voters cast ballots.
Many more voted in the 2018 midterms than the 2014 midterms though. Registered voter turnout was nearly nine percentage points higher in 2018 than in 2014, 62.7% compared to only 54.2%. Voter turnout was lowest in rural counties. The South Dakota Secretary of State’s office reports that turnout of registered voters for the 2018 midterm election was 61.6% in metropolitan counties, 64.6% in micropolitan counties, and only 61.7% in rural counties.
Of South Dakota’s 66 counties, Jones County had the highest registered voter turnout in 2018 at 79.9%, followed by Gregory County with 76.8%. While Jones County boasted the highest turnout rate in the state, it is also the state’s least populous county with only 928 residents. Oglala Lakota County had the lowest registered voter turnout at 39.1%.