South Dakota election 2020: What to know before heading to the polls
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - South Dakota voters have many big decisions to make in the 2020 election, including the future of marijuana laws in South Dakota and which representatives to send to Congress.
The following is a look at the major races and issues you’ll find on the South Dakota ballot on Nov. 3.
You can monitor election results in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa on the Dakota News Now elections results page.
Senate: Democrat Dan Ahlers is challenging incumbent Republican Mike Rounds for one of South Dakota’s two seats in the U.S. Senate.
House of Representatives: Incumbent Republican Dusty Johnson’s sole challenger is Libertarian candidate Randy Luallin. Democrats did not field a challenger in this race.
Public Utilities Commission: Three candidates are running for one of three spots on the state’s Public Utilities Commission board. The PUC regulates investor-owned electric, natural gas, and telephone utilities with public safety and service in mind. This year’s candidates include incumbent Republican Gary Hanson (campaign page), Democratic challenger Remi Bald Eagle (campaign page), and Libertarian challenger Devin Saxon (campaign page).
Initiated Measure 26: An initiated measure on legalizing marijuana for medical use
This measure legalizes the medical use of marijuana by all qualifying patients, including minors. It also lays out several details by which patients can legally obtain medical marijuana. Read the attorney general’s full explanation here.
Constitutional Amendment A: An amendment to the South Dakota Constitution to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana
This amendment would change the state’s constitution to allow the recreational use of marijuana. Individuals would be allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. The Department of Revenue can issue vendor licenses, and impose a sales tax of up to 15%. The amendment would also compel the state legislature to pass laws regarding the medical use of medical marijuana. Read the Attorney General’s full explanation here.
We spoke with the campaign managers supporting these marijuana-related ballot questions, as well as two opponents - the president of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and the president of the South Dakota State Medical Association. Find those full conversations here.
Constitutional Amendment B Title: An amendment to the South Dakota Constitution authorizing the Legislature to allow sports wagering in Deadwood
This amendment would change the state’s constitution to allow sports wagering in Deadwood. Currently, games like slot machines, cards, and roulette are legal, but sports betting is not. Read the Attorney General’s full explanation here.
We spoke with both supporters and opponents of this ballot question. Find our full preview story here.
Hundreds of candidates are running for local and district offices, for everything from the state legislature to states attorneys to county commissions. The Secretary of State identifies 650 candidates in all - too many to list here. You can find a full list of candidates on the Secretary of State’s website.
Polls are open statewide from 7 am to 7 pm. You can find your polling place here.
A large proportion of South Dakota voters have already cast their ballots. The Secretary of State office has sent out over 200,000 absentee ballots, roughly twice as many as 2016.
South Dakota has a total of 578,322 registered voters in 2016, an increase of nearly 6% from 2016. Voter turnout in the 2016 election in South Dakota was 69.6%, well above the national average of 55%.
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