South Dakota


South Dakota Redistricting Process


As of the 2020 U.S. Census, South Dakota only has one at-large congressional district.


Legislative maps are enacted by the State Legislature. The Governor can veto the plans.

The Legislature can override a veto with a two-thirds vote. Republicans currently have veto-proof majorities in both chambers.

Source: S.D. Const. art. III, § 5.

Previous Redistricting Cycles


  • Congressional
    • N/A (At-large)
  • Legislative
    • Original PlansHB 1001
      • Passed = November 10, 2021 (R-controlled)
      • Signed = November 10, 2021
    • Litigation History
      • None


  • Congressional
    • N/A (At-large)
  • Legislative
    • Original PlanHB 1001
      • Passed = October 24, 2011 (R-controlled)
      • Signed = October 25, 2011
      • Preclearance = Granted on January 19, 2012
    • Litigation History
      • None


  • Congressional
    • N/A (At-large)
  • Legislative
    • Original PlanSB 1
      • Passed = October 24, 2001 (R-controlled)
      • Signed = November 1, 2001
      • Preclearance = Granted
    • Litigation History
      • Bone Shirt v. Hazeltine, 461 F.3d 1011 (8th Cir. 2006): A group of Native American voters filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Legislature’s enacted legislative plans as violating Sections 2 and 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act by diluting Native American voting strength. After the district court ruled that the plans did violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the Legislature was given the opportunity to enact remedial plans, but it failed to do so. In August 2005, the district court adopted one of the plaintiffs’ proposed plans, Plan E, and on August 22, 2006, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment and its adoption of the remedial legislative plan.

Governor Bill Signing

If a bill is presented to the governor during session, the governor has 5 days to sign or veto it; otherwise, it becomes law without signature. If the bill is presented to the governor when the legislature has adjourned or recessed for more than 5 days within the initial 5 day period, the governor must sign or veto the bill within 15 days after adjournment/recess; otherwise, it becomes law. Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays are excluded in these calculations. Line-item vetoes are permitted.

Ballot Measure Process

Kinds of Ballot Measures
Direct initiatives and referendums are permitted to amend statutes. Direct initiatives are permitted to amend the state Constitution. Legislatively initiated ballot measures may amend both statutes and the Constitution.

Single-Subject Rule
There is a single-subject rule.

Initiative Subject Restrictions
The following are not permitted: Granting divorces; Changing the names of persons, places, or constituting one person the heir at law of another; Locating or changing county seats; Regulating county and township affairs; Incorporating cities, towns and villages or changing or amending the charter of any town, city or village, or laying out, opening, vacating or altering town plats, streets, wards, alleys and public ground; Providing for sale or mortgage of real estate belonging to minors or others under disability; Authorizing persons to keep ferries across streams wholly within the state; Remitting fines, penalties or forfeitures; Granting to an individual, association or corporation any special or exclusive privilege, immunity or franchise whatever; Providing for the management of common schools; Creating, increasing or decreasing fees, percentages or allowances of public officers during the term for which said officers are elected or appointed.

Signature Requirements
The signature requirement for constitutional amendments is 10% of all votes cast for all candidates for governor in the previous gubernatorial election, 5% for all other initiatives, and 5% for a veto referendum. 339,214 people voted for a candidate for governor in the 2018 General Election in South Dakota, so 33,921 signatures are required for constitutional amendments, 16,961 signatures are required for any other initiative, and 16,961 signatures are required for a veto referendum.

Submission Deadlines
Constitutional amendments and statutory initiatives must be submitted at least one year prior to the election in which it is to appear on the ballot (November 3, 2019). Referendums must be submitted within 90 days after the end of the legislative session.

Circulation Period
The circulation period for initiative petitions is one year.

Ballot Title and Summary
The Ballot Title and Summary are written by the proponents and reviewed by the State Board of Elections. Expedited reviews for Titles and Summaries are not permitted.

Other Requirements
A fiscal impact statement is not required. Circulators are required to be a resident of the state and cannot be a sex offender unless they are under supervision. There are no supermajority requirements. The Legislature can amend or repeal a statutory initiative through a majority vote. The Legislature can amend or repeal an amendment by sending it to voters through a majority vote in each chamber of the Legislature. Referendums cannot target emergency laws or laws needed for the support of the state government and its existing public institutions. Initiatives are permitted on general election ballots, but not on primary, special, and odd-year election ballots.

Source: S.D. Const. art. III, XXIII. S.D. Cod. Laws § 2-1; §12-13 (2020). South Dakota Secretary of State Website

Active Ballot Measures
  • An Initiated Amendment to the South Dakota Constitution Regarding Establishing a Redistricting Commission (2022)
    • Status - Potentially on the 2022 Ballot - No Petition Submitted for Circulation
    • Summary - This initiative would transfer the authority to redraw the state's legislative districts from the state legislature to a redistricting commission comprised of nine, registered South Dakota voters who are appointed by the South Dakota Board of Elections. In addition to prescribing certain criteria for, and prohibiting various considerations from, the commission's drawing of district lines, it would also provide for several opportunities wherein the public can comment on and participate in the map drawing process.

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