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Voting in SD: How does change of address affect registration?

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Monday, October 9, 2023   

When it comes to elections, all eyes are on the 2024 vote. Civic-engagement groups in South Dakota are trying to make sure people needing help with registration are ready well ahead of time.

The Brookings Institution says by the 2028 presidential election, people younger than 45 will serve as the majority of U.S. voters.

Erin Royer, board chair with Leaders Engaged And Determined (LEAD) South Dakota, said they're definitely working with a lot of young adults in helping them get ready to cast a ballot now and in the future.

She said a common question that comes up is residency requirements, including for those who are in college or just moved back in with their parents.

"We see a lot of people with temporary addresses or people who have recently moved to a new address," said Royer. "A lot of times people have questions about where can they vote."

Under state law, a person can spend at least one night at a specific address and qualify for residency, as long as they follow through with other steps.

As for voting, they have to spend at least 30 days there and re-register with their new mailing address.

If it's a temporary in-state move, the person can retain the right to vote in their long-term jurisdiction. Election administrators say that's important for still being able to decide local races.

Royer said they also encounter a lot of people who tend to avoid political news coverage and are unaware of when the next election is.

She stressed that doesn't mean they shouldn't be encouraged to register in case they do end up wanting to cast a ballot.

"Even if politics aren't your cup of tea or you're not particularly interested in politics," said Royer, "it's still definitely worth taking a few minutes out of your day either to vote early or to vote on Election Day."

Groups such as LEAD also prioritize helping marginalized populations, including tribal areas and New Americans, address registration barriers.

Those include having to travel long distances to an election office or filling out a form that doesn't accommodate their native language.

More details on voter registration in South Dakota can be found on the Secretary of State's website.

Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.




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