No one should have to choose between protecting their health and exercising their right to vote.

That’s especially true when it comes to voting in South Dakota’s June 2 Primary Election during a global pandemic. The last thing we should be doing is waiting in line to vote when we’re supposed to be social distancing.

That’s where absentee voting by mail comes in. But in order to get an absentee ballot, you typically have to ask for one.

The South Dakota secretary of State’s office recently announced it would be mailing absentee ballot request forms to every registered voter in South Dakota. This is great news. However, the absentee request process is a little confusing. Absentee ballot request forms in South Dakota note that the application must be notarized or submitted with a printed copy of the applicant’s drivers license to be accepted. Both of those things might be out of your reach. Finding a notary can be troublesome because of social distancing expectations and not everyone has a working printer in their home.  

Thankfully, there is an eco-friendly and pandemic-conscious option for everyone. Registered South Dakota voters, instead of working with a notary or fumbling with an in-home-printer, can simply email a photo or scanned copy of their ID (front/back) to their county auditor any time before they submit their application for an absentee ballot. Don’t have access to a digital camera or a smartphone? Contact your county auditor for a creative workaround.

If you plan to email a photo or scanned copy of your ID, make sure to also include your full name and contact information, like a phone number and preferred email, as well as any notes related to your request, in the body of your email. (Example: this is Pam following up from our phone call on 5/1 here’s my ID!) Take note of your absentee deadline requirement so you get it in the mail in time.  

Here’s your to-do list for this week:

  • Get outside and check your mail
  • Fill out your absentee ballot request form then mail it back within 24 hours of receiving
    (You should have recieved a prepaid remittance envelope to mail this back)
  • Email a photo or scanned copy of your ID (front and back) with your preferred contact information in case your county auditor needs to follow up
  • Get your absentee ballot shortly after, then vote absentee like your rights depend on it. Be sure to send back your ballot within 24 hours of receiving. 
    (You should have recieved a prepaid remittance envelope to mail this back)

Voting absentee, the best way South Dakotans can safely and effectively participate in the political process right now. Don’t miss this opportunity to make your voice heard on issues that matter to you and your community. Every vote in every election has an impact.

Now let’s get to it!   

Questions? Email us at southdakota@aclu.org or visit sdsos.gov.