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JAN. 4, 2010 - VOL 45 NO. 4

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COVER STORY

Vote: Be informed and use your voice
Local election round-up

Candidate Forums
How to register to vote
Primary election: June 8, 2010
General election: Nov. 2, 2010

Vote: Be informed and use your voice

by Amy Smolik
Marketing & Communications Manager


The 15th Amendment to the Constitution, passed 140 years ago, guarantees the right to vote regardless of race, color or previous condition of servitude. In 1920, the 19th Amendment was added to extend that right to all, stating no citizen should be denied that right because of that citizen’s sex.

Even without a Presidential election, 2010 is a big election year in South Dakota with opportunities to vote on local city council and school board elections, as well as a primary and general election that includes statewide offices and initiated measures.

A wealth of resources are available online to help you. Recently, the Chamber’s Young Professionals Network hosted an informational session with Minnehaha County Auditor Sue Roust about the basics of voting and knowing who represents you and understanding the democratic process. Later this month, the YPN, along with the Chamber, City of Sioux Falls and League of Women Voters, will host candidate forums for the local city election (see more details on this page).

The first thing to do is register to vote. Read more information about how to register on this page. You can pick up a voter registration form at all YPN events (see www.siouxfallsypn.com for a calendar of events).

The South Dakota Secretary of State website (www.sdsos.gov) is also an excellent resource to learn more about South Dakota elections. You can visit the Voter Information Portal on the Secretary of State’s website to learn your voter registration information, polling place location and your sample ballot for primary and general elections. If you want to register to vote or report a name, address or party change, you can fill out the online form (also available on the Secretary of State’s website) to make the change(s). The deadline to register is 15 days before any election and your form must be received by the your county auditor by that deadline to ensure you can vote in the next election.

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Local election round-up

Following is a snapshot of area elections taking place this spring and where to get more information. The election day is in parentheses.

Brandon: Two wards (April 13) Contact: 582-6515 or http://brandon.govoffice.com

Brandon Valley School District: Two seats (June 15) Contact: 582-2049 (ask for Paul Lundberg) or www.brandonvalley.k12.sd.us

Harrisburg: Mayor, three council seats, (April 13) Contact: 743-5872 or www.harrisburg.govoffice.com

Harrisburg School District: Two open seats (May 4) Contact: 743-2567 or www.sf.k12.sd.us

Sioux Falls: Mayor, two at-large council seats, southeast district, central district; three revisions to the charter will also appear on the ballot (April 13) Contact: 367-8080 or www.siouxfalls.org

Sioux Falls School District: two seats (April 13) Contact: 367-7900 or www.sf.k12.sd.us

Tea: Mayor, three council seats, (April 13) Contact: 498-5191 or www.teasd.com

Tea Area School District: One at-large representative (three-year term); one rural represenative (filling out the remainder of a term; one-year) (May 4) Contact: 498-2700, ext. 4 or www.teaschools.k12.sd.us

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Candidate Forums

Carnegie Town Hall, 235 W. 10th St.

Sponsored by the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Young Professionals Network, City of Sioux Falls and League of Women Voters

Each of the candidates running for Mayor and City Council will have one minute for introductions, one minute to answer and one minute for closing remarks.

Saturday, March 20
Mayoral Candidates
9-10:30 a.m.


Saturday, March 27
Council At-Large Candidates
9-10:30 a.m.


Saturday, March 27
Central/Southeastern Districts Candidates
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.


The forums will be broadcast live on CityLink 16 and rebroadcast consecutively on the following dates and times:

Mondays: March 29, April 5 and April 12 starting at 9 a.m
Fridays: April 2 and April 9, starting at 9 a.m.
Sundays: April 4 and April 11, starting at 9 a.m.

The Sioux Falls Public School Board is also has two seats open on the school board. As of press time, only two candidates had filed paperwork for the two seats. If no other candidates filed by Feb. 26, there will be no election and the two individuals who filed petitions will be on the school board. If at least three candidates are vying for the two seats, the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Young Professionals Network and League of Women Voters will partner to hold a candidate forum for the School Board election. Watch Chamber communications for more information.

CVB Candidate Forums

The Sioux Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is hosting a forum for all Mayoral and City Council candidates on Thursday, March 25 as a part of its monthly council meeting. All candidates will be invited to participate in the forum in order to inform the Sioux Falls visitor industry of their opinions and positions on a variety of issues facing the community.

The meeting is scheduled from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. RSVP’s are necessary for attendance. Lunch will be provided at a cost of $10 per person. Contact Kathie at (605) 373-2032 or kputhoff@siouxfalls.com if you would like to attend.

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How to register to vote

All voters are required to provide identification before voting or obtaining an absentee ballot. Items that can be used include: a South Dakota driver’s license or non-driver identification card; a passport or identification card, including a picture, issued by a U.S. government agency; a tribal identification card, including a picture; a current student identification card, including a picture, issued by a high school or accredited post-secondary institution located in South Dakota. Without personal identification, a voter may complete an affidavit in lieu of personal identification.

The deadline for registration is 15 days before any election.
You may register at the following locations: county auditor’s office; city finance office; driver’s license station; public assistance agencies providing food stamps, TANF or WIC; Department of Human Services offices that provide assistance to the disabled; military recruitment offices; or mail-in registration with cards from the county auditor’s office.

To register to vote in South Dakota, you must: be a U.S. citizen; reside in South Dakota; be at least 18 years old on or before the next election; not currently serving a sentence for a felony conviction which included imprisonment, served or suspended, in an adult penitentiary system; and not be judged mentally incompetent by a court of law.

Absentee ballots are available six weeks prior to the election. Any registered voter can vote by absentee ballot. Any person who has voted and returned an absentee ballot may not vote again at a polling place.

The deadline for registration is 15 days before any election. Your card must be received by the auditor by this deadline if you are to vote in the next election. The 2010 Primary deadline is May 24; the 2010 General deadline is Oct. 18.

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Primary election: June 8, 2010

South Dakota holds closed primary elections, meaning to be eligible to vote in the primaries, voters must indicate their political party choice on the registration cards. Republican, Democratic and Constitution parties are the recognized political parties in South Dakota. For more information, visit: www.sddp.org, www.southdakotagop.com, or www.sdakcp.org.

New political parties may form by filing new party formation petitions signed by 8,388 registered voters in South Dakota. The petition deadline for the 2010 elections is March 30, 2010. A political party’s gubernatorial candidate must obtain at least 2.5 percent of the vote for governor to remain a recognized party.

Following are important dates related to the Primary Election: April 27: Absentee voting begins for the June Primary election; May 24: Voter registration deadline for the June primary election; June 8: Primary election. Polls are open from 7 a.m.-7p.m. on election day.

The following nominations are made in the closed party primary elections: U.S. Senator: six-year term; U.S. Representative: 2-year term; Governor: four-year term; 105 Legislators (35 Senate, 70 House): 2-year term; County Commissioners: four-year term; County Auditor: four-year term; County Register of Deeds: four-year term; County Sheriff: four-year term;

Delegates to Republican Party State Convention will vote on: County chairman, vice chairman, state committee members, each precinct committeeman and committeewoman, and three at-large delegates from each county. elegates to Delegates to the Democratic Party State Convention will vote on: Each County shall send a minimum of four delegates, one being the County Chair or the next higher officer and three shall be elected. In addition, the County shall elect one delegate for every 1,500 votes (or major fraction thereof) over 4,000 cast in that County in the last General Election for the Democratic candidate for Governor. Voting delegates to the State Convention, who will be seated with their County delegations, shall also automatically include the following classifications of Party Officers: Precinct Committeeman, Precinct Committeewoman, County Vice Chair, County Secretary, County Treasurer and Legislative District Chair. The Legislative District Chair shall be seated with the County delegation where the Officer is registered to vote.

The following will be nominated at the 2010 state conventions of each political party: Lt. Governor: four-year term; Secretary of State: four-year term; Attorney General: four-year term; State Auditor: four-year term; State Treasurer: four-year term; Commission of School and Public Lands: four-year term; Public Utilities Commissioner: six-year term.

For more information about the primary and general elections, visit www.sdsos.gov.

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General election: Nov. 2, 2010

The General Election will be held Nov. 2, 2010. The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 18.

The deadline for filing constitutional amendment petitions was Nov. 2, 2009. Referred Law 12, which is an Act to prohibit smoking tobacco products in certain places and to require certain persons to inform violators of the prohibition, will appear on the General Election ballot. An Initiated Measure that is an act to provide safe access to medical marijuana for certain qualified persons is also circulating. The deadline for filing initiated measure petitions is April 6, 2010.

The following positions can be voted on at the General Election: U.S. Representative: 2-year term; U.S. Senator: 6-year term; Governor/Lt. Governor: four-year term; 105 Legislators (35 Senate, 70 House) –2-year term; County Commissioners: four-year term; County Auditor: four-year term; County Register of Deeds: four-year term; County Sheriff four-year term; Secretary of State: four-year term; Attorney General: four-year term; State Auditor: four-year term; State Treasurer: four-year term; Commission of School and Public Lands: four-year term; and Public Utilities Commissioner: four-year term.

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