May 20, 2022
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Importance of Local Elections Highlighted in SD

On April 12th, municipalities across South Dakota will be holding local elections. A statewide group is encouraging participation through an outreach effort geared for the state’s largest city. Organizers say engagement is important on several levels. The group Leaders Engaged and Determined, also known as LEAD, is part of the Vote Sioux Falls initiative, which aims to get 200 new voters registered by March 28th. Melissa McCauley of LEAD says it’s not just about casting a ballot but also being more informed about local candidates and issues.

“When you elect somebody, even to the city council, to the school board, it is impacting you all the time. And so, to be engaged and to be able to have a voice is impactful.”

She says that can impact what you pay in certain taxes, as well as redistricting. Even though state leaders approved new legislative boundaries last fall, local political lines also were redrawn and finalized. In Sioux Falls, the City Council has the option to reject plans submitted by a special commission. Civic engagement groups say participating in local democracy can shape the outcome of these functions down the road.

Redistricting happens every ten years to update political boundaries based on the latest Census data. Now that new lines are in place, McCauley says residents should ensure their voice is heard as key decisions are made over the next decade.

“Whether it be young, old, Republican, Democrat, we want you to participate. And we’re saying don’t leave it up to luck because a lot of people, ‘Oh, they’ll vote the way I want.’ Well, we don’t know that.”

As part of the outreach campaign in Sioux Falls, several downtown businesses are participating by having voter registration forms available. Additionally, more details can be found at Vote Sioux Falls-dot-com.

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