PIERRE, S.D. — Absentee voting opens Friday in South Dakota, allowing supporters of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to cast ballots ahead of the Nov. 8 general election.
People who want to vote absentee in person at their county auditor’s office or a satellite location should bring a photo ID such as a driver’s license, passport or tribal identification card. Those without photo identification can sign an affidavit.
Absentee by mail voters must fill out an application to request an absentee ballot with a notarized signature or a copy of a photo ID.
WHAT’S ON THE BALLOT?
Voters this election will have the opportunity to decide among candidates for president, U.S. House and Senate, the state Public Utilities Commission and state legislative seats.
There are also 10 ballot measures going before voters, and voters may have county office races on their ballot. Secretary of State Shantel Krebs is encouraging people to review a sample ballot before voting since the ballot is so long this year, she said.
Democratic and Republican candidates across the state are reminding voters they can vote absentee, officials from both parties said. The parties will also use social media to inform people about the option.
WHERE IT ALL STARTED
Lawmakers in 2003 removed regulations that allowed absentee voting only for bona fide excuses, such as being absent on Election Day, illness, observance of a religious holiday or attending college away from home.
In Republican-heavy South Dakota, Democratic House candidate Paula Hawks is challenging three-term GOP Congresswoman Kristi Noem, while Yankton businessman Jay Williams, a Democrat, is attempting to stop Republican U.S. Sen. John Thune from getting a third term in the Senate. Democratic Public Utilities Commission candidate Henry Red Cloud is campaigning to unseat Chris Nelson, a Republican who has served on the three-member commission since 2011.
Voters looking for a presidential option other than Clinton or Trump could choose Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson or Constitution Party candidate Darrell Castle. Green Party hopeful Jill Stein is not on the ballot.
KEY BALLOT MEASURES
Top ballot issues include measures on payday lending interest rates, a wide-ranging plan that would let voters earmark public money for political candidates and an amendment that would create a new commission to redraw the state’s legislative districts.
CHECK YOUR PHONE
Voters can use the Secretary of State’s Vote605 app to view a sample ballot and track an absentee ballot request from their phone. The app also gives citizens the ability to figure out where they are registered to vote.