South Dakota Ranks Among Least Politically Engaged States
New WalletHub study finds residents here less likely to vote, financially support candidates
South Dakota voters can be fairly lax when it comes to getting the polls, a new study shows. With a key midterm coming up November 6, deciding the next governor of our state, along with seats in the Senate, House and other big local races and issues, WalletHub points out only a quarter of our overall population voted in the 2014 midterm election. Just over a third of those eligible to vote engaged in the 2016 Presidential Election.
WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across ten key indicators of political engagement. They range from “percentage of registered voters in the 2016 presidential election” to “total political contributions per adult population.” Where South Dakota falls:
Political Engagement in South Dakota (1=Most; 25=Avg.)
- 18th – % of Registered Voters in 2016 Presidential Election
- 25th – % of Electorate Who Voted in 2014 Midterm Elections
- 39th – % of Electorate Who Voted in 2016 Presidential Election
- 36th – Change in % of Electorate Who Actually Voted in 2016 Elections vs. 2012 Elections
- 30th – Total Political Contributions per Adult Population
- 18th – Civic Education Engagement
- 28th – Voter Accessibility Policies
The study also found that most states don’t emphasize civic education in their schools. And when it comes to voter education, we all have a long way to go – “large proportions of the public fail even simple knowledge tests such as knowing whether one’s state requires identification in order to vote” researchers point out.
Of the factors that affect voter participation rates, income appears to play a significant role, impacting both voter turnout and ultimately public policy. “In the 2016 election, only 41.4% of registered voters with family incomes of under $10,000 voted. In comparison, 80.3% of those with family incomes of $150,000 or more voted,” according to WalletHub.