American citizens have multiple civic duties and perhaps one of the greatest is the ability and opportunity to vote in elections.
The following article will discuss how to register to vote in South Dakota (SD), how to vote with an absentee ballot, and why you should vote, as suggested by Northern State professors.
To register to vote in South Dakota you must be a citizen in the United States, reside in SD, be at least 18 years old on or before the next election, not currently serving a sentence for a felony conviction (including imprisonment), served or suspended in an adult penitentiary system, and not be judged mentally incompetent by a court of law.
Registering to vote is easy. How To Register: Go to the Secretary of State’s webpage, http://www.sdsos.gov, or get the Vote605 app on your phone.
Once on the website or app, click “register to vote”, print the Voter Registration Form, fill out the form, sign it, and then submit it to your County Auditor by October 24, at the latest.
Additionally, you can register to vote at the county auditor’s office, a driver’s license station, the city finance office, public assistance agencies, department of human services or any of the military recruitment offices.
If you are not from SD, have moved addresses, or want to vote from the comfort of your home, you may apply for an absentee ballot. Each state has a different process for applying for an absentee ballot, so it is best to check your Secretary of State’s website or your County Auditor’s website.
Another way to learn how to vote in your home state is by Google searching the YouTube channel “Hank Green How to Vote in Every State.”
In South Dakota on November 8, the polling places will be open from 7am to 7pm. On the Secretary of State’s website, you may also find a sample ballot that you can fill out and bring with you. This ballot is based on where you are registered to vote so you can see the local issues to be voted on.
So, why should you vote? Several history and political science professors at Northern State answer that question.
Dr. Art Marmostein states, “We were always taught in school that voting is a civic duty, and I think that’s a good quick summary. Even though only very rarely is a single vote going to determine the outcome of an election, every vote cast (no matter for which candidate or on which side of an issue) is a vote for the continuation of the democratic process. It’s a reminder of where sovereignty lies: with the people, and not with political leaders or bureaucrats.”
Dr. Jon D. Schaff adds that, “It is important to vote because it is a part of what it means to be a citizen. A citizen, says Aristotle, governs, and you cannot be passive and be a citizen. We are a self-governed people, not subjects to a monarch or dictator, but to keep that we must actually participate in self-governing. . . . Most people who do not vote only do so out of ignorance and/or laziness, which is an inevitable sign of someone who is not interested in citizenship.”
Finally, Dr. Ric Dias adds, “Every single vote matters. Just looking at our national government, it really does so much for us. It keeps airplanes from colliding in midair, it delivers our mail, it defends us, and it keeps rats out of our hamburger, and demands little in return. Seems to me like asking or expecting people to participate in the process of picking leaders and laws is not too much of a request. In fact, that we are taken seriously enough to have our input taken, our vote counted, seems like quite a compliment, really.”
So flood the polls on November 8, whether in person or absentee ballot, and exercise your right and privilege as an American citizen to vote. Make your vote count.