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Elections & Voting

Why It Is Important to Vote

Why it is Important to Vote Document ThumbnailSouth Dakota Absentee Voting began on September 18. 2020.  During the current pandemic, it is just as, if not even more important, to vote in the 2020 general elections. Individuals with underlying health issues, disabilities and senior citizens are at the highest risk for becoming ill. 

So why should you vote? One simple reason—if you do not vote you give up the right to have your voice heard. Some people do not vote because they do not like any of the candidates or understand the ballot questions. They may think their vote does not matter. When a person does not vote they are letting those who do vote choose who will be their voice. 

Sadly, the voices of individuals with disabilities are not heard as well as they should be. People with disabilities do not vote as much as others. The voice of all individuals is equally important. People with disabilities need to find and vote for candidates that have the same ideals and goals as they do. 

To remain safe and still exercise your right to vote you can fill out an absentee ballot application. It can be printed from the Secretary of State’s website at https://sdsos.gov/ . You can also contact your local county auditor and request an absentee ballot application be mailed to you. 

Absentee ballots applications must have a copy of a photo ID or be notarized. If you do not have access to a copier or notary, a picture of your photo ID can be taken and sent to your County Auditor via text or email. All County Auditor information is available at the Secretary of State’s website at https://sdsos.gov/

You MUST sign the outside of the envelope provided by the County Auditor’s office prior to mailing.

In South Dakota, the County Election Official must receive your application for absentee ballot no later than 5 p.m. the day before the election.

 Why It Is Important to Vote - Word Document

Oyate` Wicha’ho Unki’ – The People’s Voice

 Raise Your Voice and Be Heard - Tribal Members represent 10% of the South Dakota population. People with disability are nearly 20% of the state's population…Together, this is a powerful voting voice in South Dakota. This is a non-partisan effort to create opportunity and access to voting in the 2020 election. “Oyate` Wicha’ho Unki’ – The People’s Voice is supported and funded by Disability Rights of South Dakota.

Voting During COVID-19

With the current health concerns and recommendations for social distancing, Disability Rights South Dakota has received some questions regarding when/how to absentee vote. Absentee voting for the November 3, 2020 general elections begins September 18, 2020. Below, you can find a link to the Secretary of State's website that details the process and provides the form needed to request an absentee ballot. You will see a spot on the form for a notary--if a notary is not available, a copy of a state photo ID can be sent with the application. If you do not have access to a copier you can take a photo of your ID and text or email to your county auditor. If you have any questions or need assistance to print the forms, please contact our office at 1-800-658-4782, and we will do our best to assist you.  

Absentee Voting:

Vote Early Day - October 24th, 2020


This election is seeing more interest than ever before. That's why we're joining with others across the country this October to celebrate Vote Early Day and help everyone understand their options to vote. You can join us! Just visit http://www.voteearlyday.org/ to learn more and sign up for more information.

National Disability Voter Registration Week (July 13th - 17th, 2020)

Disability Rights South Dakota joins partners across the country to celebrate National Disability Voter Registration Week -  Full Press Release

July 13-17, 2020 is National Disability Voter Registration Week (NDVRW), a joint endeavor across the United States to register voters for the 2020 General Elections.

Partnering with the Register Educate Vote Use your Power (RevUp) campaign, and in celebration of NDVRW, Disability Rights South Dakota (DRSD) will be hosting a weeklong voter registration event. 

In recognition that all Americans have the RIGHT to vote, DRSD and RevUp place a priority on registering individuals with disabilities to vote, ensuring every eligible American voter can exercise his or her RIGHT and RESPONSIBILITY to educate themselves and be heard at the ballot box. Communities across the country will use NDVRW to increase voter registration and participation in the electoral process.

DRSD offices will have staff available to assist all individuals in registering to vote and answer any voting rights questions they may have. To request a Voter Registration form call: 1-800-658-4782

To register to vote any time throughout the year a person can also register at the Department of Motor Vehicles, Vocational Rehabilitation Services or your local Department of Social Services. Voter registration forms can also be obtained at your local County Auditor’s office, and on the Secretary of State’s website SDSOS.GOV.

Voter registration deadlines for the 2020 General election is October 19, 2020. 

Disability Rights South Dakota is a federally funded, independent non-profit protection and advocacy agency dedicated to preventing, investigating and adjudicating cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation of South Dakotans with disabilities. DRSD’s legal team and advocates work to protect the rights of the disability community.

Vote For Access:

Vote for Access is a series of five short advocacy videos on the barriers that many disabled voters still face when trying to vote. This non-partisan project is produced by Rooted in Rights and Block by Block Creative, in collaboration with a number of Protection and Advocacy agencies across the country, including DRSD. Our goal is to push for better resources, funding, and awareness to improve accessibility and outreach for disabled voters.

Each episode showcases a specific issue that directly impacts voters with disabilities: attitudinal barriers, access to information, access to the polls, access to alternative voting options, and voter suppression. Our host, Imani Barbarin, introduces considerations that often aren’t included in conversations about voting rights. Imani is joined by 16 guests from around the country who speak to their experiences as voters, poll workers, and researchers who can help us understand a better way to ensure equality at the polls.

Check out all five episodes in the playlist below!

Other Election Information:

Thumbnail Why It is Important to Vote