Jay Kruse with South Dakota Election Results
by Jay Kruse
Chief Advocacy Officer

Good Morning!

I hope everyone was able to get out and vote yesterday. We were blessed with some uncharacteristically beautiful weather which makes standing in line at your polling place much more enjoyable!

As of this morning, we are still awaiting final results from 71 precincts across the state with ballot counting set to continue this morning starting at 8 a.m. Due to an increase in the number of registered voters across the state, voter turnout in South Dakota was actually down this year compared to the 2016 presidential election, even though around 7,000 more ballots were cast this year compared to four years ago. This year 385,951 ballots have been cast which is roughly 67% of the total registered voters in the state, which is slightly lower than the nearly 70% of voters who turned out in 2016.

South Dakotans voted both red and green on Election Day. It was a big day for Republicans, as they appear to have increased their supermajority in the South Dakota Legislature, but again many votes continue to be tallied this morning. South Dakota residents also voted to pass two separate ballot measures, legalizing both the medical and recreational use of marijuana within the state. Cannabis banking now becomes a focal issue in the state, as it has been in other states which have legalized the use of cannabis although it remains on the federally controlled substance list.

South Dakota Election Day Recap.

Presidential Electors

Election Day is in the rearview mirror, however, the race is still too close to call, with neither President Trump or Joe Biden reaching the required 270 electoral votes. The race now hinges on a handful of “swing states” including, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia. A potential legal fight between the two campaigns could be on the horizon as indications are some results may be contested.

President Trump receives South Dakota’s 3 electoral votes after earning 64% of the vote compared to 33% for Biden and 3% for Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen.

Congressional Races

South Dakota voters have overwhelmingly elected incumbent Senator Mike Rounds and U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson back to their seats in Washington. Senator Rounds defeated his Democratic challenger, Dan Ahlers on a vote of 68%-32%

Congressman Dusty Johnson defeated his Libertarian challenger, Randy Luallin, by an even wider margin of 82%-18% so far.

Public Utilities Commissioner

Current Public Utilities Commission, Gary Hanson, was re-elected to continue to serve the residents of South Dakota by receiving 69% of the vote, defeating Democratic challenger Remi Bald Eagle and Libertarian candidate Devin Saxon.

State Legislative Races

Heading into Election Day, South Dakota Republicans controlled 59 of 70 House seats and 30 of 35 Senate seats looking to increase their lead even further. As the results began to be posted, it became apparent that the GOP could potentially take away several Democratic seats in both chambers. Some notable flipped seats include those of D1 Senator and 2014 Democratic nominee for governor, Susan Wismer, as well as D17 Representative Ray Ring who was term limited and D18 Senator Craig Kennedy, whose name was not on the ballot this year. As votes in Minnehaha County continue to be counted this morning, other notably tight races include Sioux Falls area incumbent Representatives Jamie Smith, Kelly Sullivan, Michael Saba, and Erin Healy, and Senator Reynold Nesiba.

Ballot Questions


South Dakota has become just the 12th state in the nation to fully legalize cannabis. Voters passed Constitutional Amendment A: An amendment to the South Dakota Constitution to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana; and to require the legislature to pass laws regarding Hemp as well as laws ensuring access to marijuana for medical use with a final tally of 53%-47%. A separate measure, IM26, to legalize marijuana for medical use also passed with a final vote of 59%-41%.

Sports Wagering

South Dakota residents also gave their seal of approval to Constitutional Amendment B: An amendment to the South Dakota Constitution authorizing the legislature to allow sports wagering in Deadwood and tribal casinos, passing 59%-41%. The 2021 Legislature will determine South Dakota’s rules and regulations surrounding sports betting.

You can find the full election results for South Dakota on the Secretary of State’s website here.

Have a great week, stay well, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.


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