Media Contact

Janna Farley,

February 12, 2019

The ACLU of South Dakota opposes House Bill 1178, legislation that would cut the designated time for absentee voting from 46 days to just 14.

Voting is a fundamental right of our democracy. The decisions made on school boards, city halls, at the state legislature and the United States Congress impact the lives of all South Dakotans. And while there are so many ways to influence our elected officials, there is only one way to determine who those officials will be: by voting.

That’s why it is so important that all eligible U.S. citizens who want to cast a ballot can do so. Cutting the number of days voters have to vote absentee threatens this.

“Because nothing is more sacred to our democracy than the right to vote, South Dakota should be doing everything in its power to encourage participation from all eligible voters – not making it harder, as House Bill 1178 would do,” said Libby Skarin, policy director for the ACLU of South Dakota. “Elections are central to our democracy, to our institutions and to our government’s legitimacy. Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, a liberal or a conservative, you should want a fair system. Cutting the number of days to cast an absentee ballot limits the ability of South Dakotans to participate in democracy.”

The American Civil Liberties Union has a long history of helping voters understand and exercise their voting rights. The ACLU has been at the forefront of the fight against voter suppression as well as the movement to allow new voter access and will continue to do so after today’s primary election and beyond.

House Bill 1178 will be heard in the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

About the ACLU of South Dakota

Decisions made during the annual sessions of the South Dakota Legislature have a deep and lasting impact on our state’s people and communities. As new laws are created and others repealed or written, it’s important to ensure that these changes preserve and strengthen our constitutional rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota is a non-partisan organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection, and privacy are fundamental to a free people. In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBT communities. The ACLU of South Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for people of South Dakota.

For up-to-date information on the bills the ACLU of South Dakota is tracking, go to