Republicans Vote to Drastically Cut Early Voting and Disenfranchise Voters

This evening, Republicans on the House State Affairs Committee voted to cut the absentee voting period in South Dakota from 46 to 21 days on a party-line vote, despite the opposition of the Secretary of State’s office and county auditors. SDDP Executive Director Sam Parkinson released the following statement in response:

“Keeping the early voting period at its current length is essential to make sure that those who live in rural areas (including reservations), those who have disabilities, those who cannot take time to stand in line during a work day, and those who serve our country overseas can exercise their right to vote. In fact, according to the testimony from the Secretary of State’s office, federal law mandates that states have absentee voting open for 45 days prior to Election Day to accommodate residents who are overseas and military service members. Despite this fact, the Republican majority did not make such accommodation for service members.

“In our state, and around the country, there is a clear difference between the two parties: Democrats are working to make sure every eligible voter can exercise their right to vote, and Republicans are making it harder for people to vote, or outright disenfranchising them. As the Secretary of State’s office and other experts made clear in their testimony, this move by Republicans to roll back early voting would disenfranchise voters, plain and simple – including voters who are serving and defending our country overseas. We will continue to fight this attack on voters, and urge our State Representatives to reject it when it comes before the full House for a vote.”