Voter registration gap widened in September

If you believe in the value of a strong two-party political system, this will be sad news. Democrats fell farther behind in voter registration last month in South Dakota. The Democratic Party’s weakness in our state is becoming appalling. While some of their candidates complain about one-party government in Pierre, there’s no sign that the party’s leaders have a plan for getting out of the hole. It’s gone so far that Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin used only the word “independent” on her campaign web site and didn’t refer at all to her party except in one sentence about her father. And the Democratic candidate for governor, state Senate Democratic leader Scott Heidepriem, labels himself as an “independent Democrat.”

Here are the voter registration numbers as of Oct. 1. Republican registration was 235,906. That was a gain of 880 during September. Democratic registration was 193,304. That was a gain of 335 during September. Independent registration was 83,799. That was an increase of 822.

That means of every 10 voters who registered in the past month, less than two chose to register as Democrats. You have to wonder what it is going to take to turn the party around again.

This entry was posted in SD Government on by .

About Bob Mercer

I am a newspaper reporter in Pierre where I cover state government, issues and politics for the Aberdeen American News, the Black Hills Pioneer, the Mitchell Daily Republic, the Pierre Capital Journal, the Rapid City Journal, the Watertown Public Opinion and the Yankton Press & Dakotan. I began covering the Legislature in 1985 and have lived in Pierre since December 1986. I grew up in Wisconsin, worked my way through college, took my first full-time newspapers jobs in Wyoming, and have lived in South Dakota since the summer of 1984 when I moved to Aberdeen to join the American News. I worked for the Rapid City Journal as its state government reporter in Pierre from late 1992 through late 1998. I spent four years as press secretary and a senior aide to Gov. Bill Janklow during his fourth and final term from late 1998 through 2002. I returned to journalism in January 2003 as a self-employed reporter, providing state government coverage to the Mitchell, Watertown, Spearfish, Pierre and, depending on the year, Aberdeen newspapers. In 2008, the Aberdeen American News offered to hire me as full-time member of the AAN staff, with my reports continuing to be available to the Mitchell, Watertown, Spearfish, Pierre, Yankton and Rapid City papers. The new arrangement has been in effect since January 2009 as the seven papers continue their remarkable dedication to their readers and the general public, as the only South Dakota news outlets with a full-time reporter covering state government in Pierre throughout the year. In addition to focusing on the Legislature during the annual winter session and its various activities during the interim periods between sessions, I spend many days throughout the year -- traveling as often necessary -- to cover state government boards and commissions which oversee the state universities, technical institutes, outdoors, water, environment, business, public schools, banking, agriculture, utilities, health care and various other areas of public interest. I purposely don't register to vote because of my profession; the last time I recall voting in a presidential election was the first time, 1976, when I had just turned 18. I think I voted for Jimmy Carter over Gerald Ford. Make of that what you want, just don't make much of it.

Leave a Reply