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Residency Qualifications for Registering to Vote

Definition of Residency for Voter Registration (SDCL 12-1-4)

For the purposes of this title (Title 12), the term, residence, means the place in which a person is domiciled as shown by an actual fixed permanent dwelling, establishment, or any other abode to which the person returns after a period of absence.

A person who leaves the residence and goes into another county of this state or another state or territory for a temporary purpose has not changed residence.

A person is considered to have gained residence in any county or municipality of this state in which the person actually lives, if the person has no present intention of leaving.

A person retains residence in this state until another residence has been gained. If a person moves from this state to another state or territory with the intention of making it the person's permanent home, the person loses residence in this state.

12-4-1.2 Voter Registration form - Certification.
The voter registration form must include a certification of voter eligibility by which the applicant attests, under the penalty of perjury, that the applicant:
(1) Is a citizen of the United States;
(2) Will be eighteen years or older on or before the next election;
(3) Has maintained residence in South Dakota for at least thirty days prior to submitting the registration form;
(4) Has not been judged mentally incompetent;
(5) Is not currently serving a sentence for a felony conviction; and
(6) Authorizes the cancellation of a previous registration, if applicable.

Overseas Citizens

12-4-4.3. Overseas citizen defined.
An "overseas citizen" is any person residing outside the territory of the United States of America including its territories and possessions, and who is a citizen of the United States.

12-4-4.4. Registration and voting by overseas citizens - Conditions.
Any overseas citizen shall have the right to register and vote in any federal, state, county or local election held within South Dakota under the following conditions:

  1. The overseas citizen or the spouse of the overseas citizen was last domiciled in South Dakota immediately prior to departure from the United States.
  2. The overseas citizen does not maintain a domicile, is not registered to vote and is not voting in any other state.
  3. The overseas citizen is otherwise qualified to vote according to law.

12-4-4.5. Absentee registration and voting in last county and precinct of residence.
The overseas citizen shall be allowed to register and vote absentee in the same county and election precinct in which the overseas citizen or spouse of the overseas citizen resided immediately prior to leaving the United States.