Registered Voter Turnout

Three-Quarters of Registered Voters Cast Ballots in 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 2014, the most recent non-presidential election year, just 54.2 % of registered voters cast ballots.

Voter turnout was lowest in rural counties. The South Dakota Secretary of State’s office reports that turnout of registered voters was  73.6%  in metropolitan counties, 73.8%  in micropolitan counties, and only 68.3%  in rural counties.  The secretary found similar voting patterns in 2008 as turnouts of registered voters in that election year were 75.7%  metropolitan counties, 72.7% for micropolitan counties, and just 63.9% for rural counties.

Of South Dakota’s 66 counties, Jones County had the highest registered voter turnout in 2016 at 83.6%, followed by Harding County with 82.3%. Oglala Lakota County had the lowest registered voter turnout at 37.4%. While Harding and Jones County boasted the highest turnout rates in the state in 2016, they were also the state’s least populated counties at 1,278 and 927 people, respectively.  The counties with the highest and lowest turnout can be viewed below:


County Percent Registered Voter Turnout Rank
Jones 83.6 1
Harding 82.3 2
Bon Homme 80.0 3
Ziebach 50.5 64
Todd 36.6 65
Oglala Lakota 37.4 66

The Black Hills region has consistently had a slightly lower registered voter turnout rate than the state as a whole since 2000. In 2016, The 70.7% of registered voters in the Black Hills voted, just below the state turnout rate of 72.3%.

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