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Lack of political engagement in South Dakota found in recent analysis

STURGIS, S.D.  – Voters will be heading to the polls to cast their ballots on Election Day, Nov. 8 (or in early voting). But not a lot of them in South Dakota, according to a recent report.

In an election year highlighted with a close race for governor and controversial ballot measures to be decided, WalletHub has ranked South Dakota as one of the least politically engaged states in the U.S., at number 47.

South Dakota has a low percentage of registered voters and an even smaller number of people who show up to the polls. During the 2018 General Election only 64.89% of registered voters cast ballots.

”In fact, in the last presidential election in 2020, South Dakota had the fourth-smallest percentage of the electorate who voted. It’s about twice fewer than say in New Jersey, Minnesota, and Oregon, and New Hampshire,” said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst from WalletHub.

With Election Day close at hand, WalletHub compared the 50 states based on 10 key indicators of political engagement. They range from the percentage of registered voters in the 2020 presidential election to total political contributions per adult population.

But of the factors that affect participation rates, income is an important one, with implications on both voter turnout and public policy. South Dakota is home to some of the poorest counties in the U.S.  In the 2020 election, only 47.1% of registered voters with family incomes of under $10,000 voted. In comparison, 84.8% of those with family incomes of $150,000 or more voted.

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