South Dakota Resources for Voters with Disabilities

What are my rights as a voter with a disability in South Dakota?

In South Dakota, you have the right to the following as protected by federal law. Election staff must be trained on and respect these rights:

  • Accessible voter registration
  • Accessible polling places 
  • Policies and procedures that do not discriminate against you based on your disability
  • Accessible, available, and operational voting systems, features
  • Your service animal to accompany you inside the polling place
  • The right to vote privately and independently or with assistance, if needed
  • Assistance from a person of your choice, who can be a friend, family member, or poll worker (but not your boss, union agent or someone who has authority over you at work)

In South Dakota, you also have the right to:

  • Vote with a provisional ballot if someone questions your eligibility to vote
  • Fill out an affidavit and vote if you do not have acceptable photo identification
Who can register to vote in South Dakota?

To register to vote in South Dakota, you must be: 

  • A citizen of the United States of America
  • At least 17 and will be turning 18 on or before Election Day 
  • A resident
  • If you are a student, unhoused, a survivor of intimate partner violence with related concerns, or living with a mental or physical impairment, you may still register and vote.

In South Dakota, you may not register or vote if you:

  • Your right to vote was specifically removed by a court order, unless your right has been restored
  • Have been convicted of a felony. You can't vote while incarcerated, while on probation, or while on parole. Your right to vote is automatically restored once you complete your full sentence, including paying all fines and fees
  • Claim the right to vote elsewhere

Register to vote now if you are eligible!

What are my rights when registering to vote in South Dakota?

Federal law requires assistance in registering to vote from offices that provide public assistance or state-funded programs serving people with disabilities. Responsibilities of these offices include:

  • Providing voter registration forms
  • Assisting voters in completing the forms
  • Transmitting completed forms to the appropriate election official

All aspects of voter registration must be accessible 

What are the different ways to vote in South Dakota?
  • In person Election Day
  • Early
    • By mail
    • In person at your county auditor’s office beginning 46 days prior to the primary and general elections
  • While abroad as a citizen or military through an absentee ballot request
  •  A provisional ballot at a polling place
     
What are the ways to request an Absentee Ballot in South Dakota?
  • You can request an absentee ballot by mailing a signed absentee ballot application to your county election official. 
  • If you are confined, you can receive assistance receiving and sending your absentee application and ballot 

Request an absentee ballot now, or contact your county election official to find out how to get an accessible ballot

How is the South Dakota mail-in or absentee ballot process made accessible for voters with print disabilities?

If you require an alternative ballot, please contact your county election official.

What accommodations are available for voters with disabilities at polling locations in South Dakota?

Federal law requires polling places to meet minimum compliance standards for individuals with special needs.

  • The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 (VAEHA) requires accessible polling places in federal elections for elderly individuals and people with disabilities. Where no accessible location is available to serve as a polling place, voters must be provided an alternate means of voting in person on Election Day.
     
  • The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) requires at least one accessible voting system for persons with disabilities at each polling place in federal elections.  The accessible voting system must provide the same opportunity for access and participation, including privacy and independence, that other voters receive. 

If you want to check that your polling location meets these standards or find an alternative polling location, contact your Regional Elections Official.

If you are unable to stand in line, you can:

  • Request to be moved to the front of the line or refuse to be moved to the front of the line
  • Request that a chair be provided or refuse to accept a chair
  • Request to have your place in line held and notified when it is your turn
What are the rules of assistance for disabled voters in South Dakota?
  • You may request assistance from a poll worker or receive assistance from a person of your choice with the following exceptions:  
    • your employer or an agent of your employer
    • an officer or agent of your union
  • A poll worker cannot force you to accept assistance.
     
How can I prepare to use accessible voting equipment prior to Election Day?

South Dakota uses ExpressVote machines. These machines allow voters to:

  • Use either a touchscreen or movable keypad.
  • Adjust the display contrast and text size.
  • Use a key pad printed with both text and Braille labels.
  • Use headphones to hear instructions and options for each contest.
  • Make selections using the touchscreen, keypad, two-position switch, or sip/puff device.
  • Adjust the volume and tempo of the audio when using headphones.
  • See and/or hear all instructions and options in Spanish.

For more information or assistance, please contact your county election official.

Who do I contact if I have problems when voting in South Dakota?

To file a formal complaint, send a document to the Secretary of State outlining the problem(s) you encountered.

  • You will need to sign the complaint. You will also need to get the complaint notarized.
  • Your complaint will be resolved within 90 days. 
  • Your claim might be resolved with alternative dispute resolution, which involves an arbitrator.

For further assistance, you can contact:

Disability Rights South Dakota
Phone:
1-800-658-4782 (Voice/TTY)
605-224-8294 
Fax:
(605) 224-5125
Email:
drsd@drsdlaw.org

 

You can also fill out a Violation of Civil Rights Complaint Form and submit it to the US Department of Justice by one of the following methods:

  • Online, through the form’s submission process - this is the fastest method.
  • By fax at (202) 616-9881. You MUST include “ATTN: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Complaints" at the top of your fax submission for it to be processed correctly.
  • By mailing your form to: 

                 U.S. Department of Justice
                 Office of the Inspector General Investigations Division
                 ATTN: Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Complaints
                 950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
                 Washington, DC 20530

For assistance with advocacy, protection of your voting rights, and other services, you may contact the office of Disability Law Center of Alaska.

For additional assistance, The National Network of ADA Centers can provide local contact information for other organizations you may wish to contact, including your Regional ADA Center or ADA Knowledge Translation Center, or Federal Agencies and Resources.