Curious about how to get in touch with your legislators prior to and during the upcoming legislative session? Check this link out from the SD Legislative Research Council.
Only 14% of Sioux Falls' registered voters turned out to vote on April 14th. At stake was 2 school board seats as well as a controversial school start date referendum. Voters elected 2 board members while pushing back the school start date to after Labor Day. Almost 14,000 voters went to the polls. Even with these two items on the ballot, voters decided to stay home instead of deciding who would be responsible for the lionshare of their tax dollars (e.g. school board members). One consolation is that the turnout was up from less than 3.7% in 2013 (school board only election), however, in 2014 the turnout (election combined with the city election/mayoral election) was 33%. Here's a good summary from KDLT News. http://www.kdlt.com/news/local-news/Sioux-Falls-School-Board-Election-Has-High-Voter-Turnout/32373660
As of March 27th, the South Dakota Secretary of State's office is reporting that more than 51 local city and/or school elections have been cancelled across South Dakota, primarily due to the lack of candidates (opposition). This number is likely to grow even larger as more cities/schools report to the Secretary of State in the coming weeks concerning their upcoming elections along with additional elections being added to the list (such as Rapid City's school board, etc.). We'll provide an update each week as information becomes available.
The South Dakota Secretary of State's website offers a complete list of local elections. If you're not sure when your municipal or school district election is being held this spring, you can easily check. Then be sure to get out and vote! Most of the elections are either mid-April or June 2, which would be South Dakota's primary day in a year with a general election.
On Wednesday, March 4th, the SD House of Representatives unanimously passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 6 which directs the SD Department of Education to ensure South Dakota students are well-versed in civics and government. The SD Senate unanimously passed the bill on February 27th. A link to the bill is found here http://legis.sd.gov/Legislative_Session/Bills/Bill.aspx?Bill=SCR6&Session=2015 The Chiesman Center for Democracy has been working closely with the Joe Foss Institute's National Civics Initiative State Committee as well as the SD Secretary of Education, legislators and others in order to facilitate the drafting and eventual passage of the legislation. This is a precursor to an enhanced dialogue throughout the state regarding the importance of civics education for our young people as well as the need to improve civic engagement among adults. Stay tuned.