Friday was the busiest day in the history of early voting for county auditors. South Dakota Secretary of State Shantel Krebs told The Greg Belfrage Show Wednesday that she expects 30 to 35 percent of all voters this fall to vote by absentee ballot. The Republican says South Dakota has a "no excuse" absentee voting policy, so you can vote early for any reason. She also said there are seven satellite voting stations in Indian Country.
"We have a lot of county auditors who have been doing this a long time and they said it was definitely one of the busiest days we've had in a long time," Krebs said. Krebs wants to make sure that interest in elections continues, which is why she's focusing on young voters. She says the 18-30 age range had a very low turnout last presidential election. Only 36 percent of those voters cast a ballot, compared to a national average of 46 percent, and an average of 57 percent in Minnesota, Iowa, and North Dakota. "We have some work to do. So, again, encouraging our citizens to have that conversation," Krebs said. This election is about more than just two people, because Krebs says stepping into the booth impacts everyone in the state and nation. "The last thing we want you to do is go in there and just say you give up," Krebs said
Secretary of State Shantel Krebs said that response has been common across the state with auditors reporting that about 3/4 voters who go in to absentee vote have walked away with the ballots. She said the state could see a historic absentee voter count as voters will want to take more time to study the ballots or won't want to wait in line.
About 1 in 5 registered South Dakota voters between the ages of 18 and 30 showed up for the 2014 general election. Nationally, the participation rate for young registered voters was about twice that. The state's turnout rate for voters in that age group was also low for the 2012 presidential race. Thirty-six percent of South Dakota registered voters between the ages of 18 and 30 voted in 2012 compared to the 46 percent nationally and 57 percent average in Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota. "We suffer and we lag behind national and regional averages in turnout," Krebs said. "Our question is why? Why are they not turning out?"