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36,000 SD Voters Also on Other States’ Rolls? Gant Already Reduces Registry 2%

Northern Plains News reports that conservative watchdogs True the Vote finds that more than 36,000 names on South Dakota's voting rolls may be duplicated in other states.

May be. True the Vote offers no evidence that any of these duplicate names have translated into duplicate votes. It offers no evidence of how many of those duplicate names represent voters who have indeed moved from one state to another, have honestly registered to vote in their new abodes, and have no intention of casting bogus ballots in their previous states or perhaps even any idea that registering in their new states did not automatically remove their names from their old states' rolls. It offers no evidence of the reliability of its confidential voter database.

And it offers no evidence that these names haven't already been or soon will be purged from the voter rolls for inactivity. South Dakota's Secretary of State is a bumbler in many ways, but he's very effective at striking names from the voter registry. Since taking office, Secretary Gant has overseen a net reduction of South Dakota's registered voters of over 10,000. That's a 2% decline during a period when South Dakota's population has increased nearly 4%.

So you tell me which is the greater scandal: numerical assertions not tied to proof of real harm from a conservative group known for intimidating minority voters, or a Secretary of State who has disqualified more voters than he has registered and share's True the Vote's agenda of making it harder to vote?

(By the way, I guarantee, I am not among those duplicate names. My voter registration is up to date, accurate, and in one state only.)


  1. Rorschach 2014.06.28

    South Dakota is a state with a lot of registered voters who don't live here and have never lived here. They are RVers from other states with no connection to SD except to come here and get a driver license, register their RVs for a low price, pay lower insurance rates than they would in their home state, and pay no state income tax. There are services in Sioux Falls, Hanson County, and probably a few other places that market this and facilitate it for profit. Part of the deal to make it look like they live here is they register to vote, and the place they are working with operates as a mail forwarding service for them, which includes helping them apply for and submit absentee ballots. The vast majority of these voters, and there are thousands of them, are Republicans. They do have a right to vote somewhere while they travel around in their RV.

    Is it possible that they are still registered in their home state as well as SD? I don't know. I would think that computerized databases would take care of that issue. Is it possible for them to vote in more than one place? I don't know. Maybe someone in the Secretary of State's Office can answer these questions.

  2. Loren 2014.06.28

    OMG, I forgot to "unregister" when I left Illinois. Oh, wait, there is no such thing as unregistering, but don't let that get in the way of a good story!

  3. Poly43 2014.06.28

    SD has a very high proportionate number of these. What exactly constitutes invalid or null dates of birth on voting rolls?

  4. Tim 2014.06.28

    Hummm, I didn't "unregister" when I left my home state 28 years ago, suppose I and on the idiots list?

  5. JeniW 2014.06.28

    When you fill out a registration form to become a registered voter, or have a change of address, there is a section on the form requesting if/where registered before. If that section is completed, I think the Auditor's Office contacts the appropriate county's Auditor to notify of the change.

    If people do not complete that section, there is not anything an Auditor can do, that I know of.

  6. Jerry 2014.06.28

    Robin Paige mentioned the fact that there is a mailbox service in the gerrymandered district 33. I wonder if Gnat has checked that one out to see about irregularities...probably not.. because that is the purpose of gerrymandering. A mailbox should not be an address if you are not from the state.

  7. MJL 2014.06.29

    When I went to school in Minnesota in the 90's, I didn't unregister. I went and placed my vote the day of the election since Minnesota allows same-day registration since I chose not to deal with the cumbersome mail voting and would not get back to South Dakota until Thanksgiving. It was my only opportunity to vote. I did not vote anywhere else. I re-registered when I moved back to South Dakota for graduate school. Sad that we are so worried about stopping people from voting.

  8. WestRiver 2014.06.30

    You're going to make me change my political party if you keep informing me of all this garbage

  9. lesliengland 2014.07.13

    perhaps not much is required to establish residency to vote-a receipt for one over-night's stay gets you a mailbox in box elder so you can vote from your rv in another state.

    the question is whether those 3000 rv votes in dist. 33 are a result of gerrymandering that we can enjoin somehow?

  10. lesliengland 2014.07.13

    use or sale of state or county voter registration file information for commercial purposes is prohibited. sdcl 12-4-41

  11. lesliengland 2014.07.13

    a county may create a special absentee ballot precinct counting all such ballots in such precinct. sdcl 12-19-37. this may be the solution for the erroneous result in dist. 33.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.14

    Leslie, you're right: an RVer with a mailbox service in Box Elder, Alexandria, or Madison can spend one night in the state and register to vote in South Dakota.

    The only way we could enjoin the inclusion of RV voters in any district would be to demonstrate that districting violates the Voting Rights Act by unfairly diluting the voting power of a designated minority.

    I'm not sure the absentee-ballot precinct described in 12-19-37 would change anything. That statute appears to allow counties to count absentee ballots in a pile of their own. However, those absentees still have addresses, and they will still have on their ballots the legislator choices for the corresponding district. That bookkeeping doesn't change the voters' addresses.

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