South Dakota


South Dakota Redistricting Process


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


Primary Authority: Legislative plans are enacted by the South Dakota General Assembly, subject to the Governor’s veto. The Legislature can override a veto with a 2/3 vote in each chamber. Republicans currently have a veto-proof majority in both chambers. [S.D. Const. art. III, § 5]

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 from these calculations.

Backup Authority: If the Legislature fails to enact a plan by its deadline, the South Dakota Supreme Court draws and adopts a plan. [S.D. Const. art. III, § 5]

Mapping Timeline: The Legislature must adopt a final plan by December 1 of years ending in 1. If it fails, the South Dakota Supreme Court must adopt a final plan within 90 days of the Legislature’s missed deadline. [S.D. Const. art. III, § 5]

Redistricting Criteria: Compact; Contiguous; As nearly equal in population as practicable. Two House representatives and one Senator per district but Legislature has discretion to subdivide a district into single-member House districts. [S.D. Const. art. III, § 5; S.D. Codified Laws §§ 2-2-42 – 2-2-46]

Map Challenges: Not specified.

Ballot Measure & Referendum Processes

Types of Measures: Direct initiatives are permitted to amend statutes and the state constitution. Referendums are permitted to amend statutes. Legislatively initiated ballot measures may amend both statutes and the state constitution.

Single-Subject Rule: Yes.

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: Constitutional amendments require signatures equal to 10% of all votes cast for Governor in the last gubernatorial election, 5% for all other initiatives, and 5% for a veto referendum. 350,166 people voted for a candidate for Governor in the 2022 general election in South Dakota, so 35,017 signatures are required for constitutional amendments, 17,509 signatures are required for any other initiative, and 17,509 are required for a veto referendum.

Submission Deadlines: Constitutional amendments and statutory initiatives must be submitted at least 1 year prior to the election in which it is to appear on the ballot (November 5, 2023). Referendums must be submitted within 90 days after the end of the legislative session in which the target law was passed.

Circulation Period: 1 year for initiative petitions.

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, or odd-year election ballots.

[S.D. Const. art. III, § 1; art. XXIII, §§ 1 – 3; S.D. Codified Laws §§ 2-1-1 – 2-1-21; 12-13-1 – 12-13-28; South Dakota Secretary of State Website]

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.

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