Media Contact

Janna Farley

February 27, 2019

Today, the Senate State Affairs Committee voted to kill House Bill 1178, legislation that would have reduced the amount of time people have to cast an absentee ballot in South Dakota.

House Bill 1178 would have shortened the time people had to cast an absentee ballot. Early voting wouldn’t open until the first Friday of October prior to the general election and 32 days prior to the primary. Currently, South Dakotans are allotted 46 days for absentee voting.

The ACLU of South Dakota opposes any effort, like House Bill 1178, to curtail a person’s right to cast a ballot. South Dakota lawmakers should be doing everything they can to encourage participation from all eligible voters – not making it harder, as House Bill 1178 would have done.

“Absentee voting benefits working people, senior citizens, disabled people, everyone,” said Libby Skarin, policy director for the ACLU of South Dakota. “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. We’re thrilled that South Dakotans will continue to have ample time to cast an absentee ballot or to vote early.”

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 As new laws are created and others repealed or written, it’s important to ensure that these changes preserve and strengthen our constitutional rights. For up-to-date information on the bills the ACLU of South Dakota is tracking, go to

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.