South Dakota
State BoundariesDrawn by legislature
Governor's PartyRepublican
Legislative PartyRepublican

Census-related Redistricting Timeline Delays

State Legislative

Alert:
Guarded

Process

State Legislature

South Dakota's state legislative lines are drawn by the Legislature by ordinary statute, and are subject to the Governor's veto. The Legislature can override vetoes with a two-thirds vote in each chamber. South Dakota has only one at-large congressional district, so there is no congressional redistricting.

Criteria

In addition to the federal requirements of one person, one vote and the Voting Rights Act, South Dakota’s state constitution (Art. III § 5) requires that state legislative districts be contiguous and compact. South Dakota’s state statutes (Code § 2-2-41) further require that districts preserve political subdivisions and communities of interest.

Public Input

While South Dakota law does not require public hearings, the legislative committee responsible for redistricting held at least five hearings in the summer of 2011, including on Native American reservations. It is likely that there will be similar opportunities for public input in 2021.

Issues

Pitfalls

South Dakota has a significant Native American population, raising issues of fair representation under the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution. In 2011, legislators held public meetings and hearings on Indian reservations to gain more direct input. These important efforts came after the state lost lawsuits in the 2000 redistricting cycle over violating the voting rights of Native Americans.

Potential Reform

In August 2019, Dan Ahler, a former state legislator, submitted a ballot initiative for a proposed constitutional amendment to create an independent redistricting commission. The commission would be comprised of five members, selected by the four state legislative leaders and the Secretary of State, with no more than two from a political party. The initiative did not gather enough signatures before the November 2019 deadline.

In February 2020, the Legislature introduced HJR 5002, a bill that closely resembled Ahler’s initiative for an independent redistricting commission. The bill died when the Legislature adjourned on March 30, 2020.

Actions

Partner with Drawn Together SD, a coalition of statewide organizations dedicated to redistricting reform. 

In 2021, participate in the Legislature’s public input process.

  • Obtain South Dakota redistricting data from OpenPrecincts.
  • Start to plan out what defines your community – whether it’s a shared economic interest, school districts, or other social or other cultural, historical, or economic interests – and how that can be represented on a map. This will come in handy once the Legislature starts collecting feedback.
  • Use software tools such as Dave's Redistricting App and Districtr to draw district maps showing either (a) what a fair map would look like, or (b) where the community you believe should be better represented is located.

Read the Common Cause Activist Handbook on Redistricting Reform to learn about what reforms have been successful in the past, and what steps to take to enact reform in the future. South Dakota has a ballot initiative process, offering a direct pathway for citizens to create change.

Contacts

Drawn Together SD

League of Women Voters of South Dakota

Sources

All About Redistricting

NCSL

Ballotpedia