Brown County voters are casting early and absentee ballots at a higher rate than two years ago, so far this election season.
As of Friday, 685 people had voted early, according to the Brown County Auditor's Office. In 2010, 533 had voted early on Oct. 12. Equitable numbers weren't available for 2008, though voting numbers are generally stronger in years when there is a presidential election.
Two years ago, Brown County residents cast 3,487 early and absentee ballots, totaling 23.8 percent of all ballots cast. The equitable numbers in 2008 were 5,175 ballots totaling 29.2 percent.
Of the 685 early and absentee ballots cast so far this fall in Brown County, 308 have come from registered Republicans, 296 from Democrats and 81 from independents or those affiliated with other political parties.
According to the auditor's office, 260 absentee ballots had been mailed out as of Friday, with another 16 carried out.
The Brown County Auditor's Office will be open for early and absentee voting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 3. That's the Saturday before the election.
Statewide, 28,341 absentee ballots had been requested as of Friday afternoon, with 28,319 having been sent, according to statistics from the secretary of state's website. There had been 17,369 absentee ballots returned as of Friday afternoon.
The deadline to register to vote and still be eligible to vote in the Nov. 6 general election is Oct. 22. South Dakotans who are at least 18 can register to vote at county auditor's offices; city finance offices; driver's license stations; public assistance agencies that provide food stamps, Women, Infants and Children or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families services; Department of Human Services offices that provide assistance to the disabled and military recruiting offices. A voter registration form that can be mailed in can also be printed off the secretary of state's website at sdsos.gov.
North Dakota residents don't have to register to vote. It's the only state in the nation where voter registration isn't required.
In Brown County, 25,412 residents were registered to vote as of Friday. Here's how that number breaks down by political party, according to the auditor's office:
Statewide, 521,865 South Dakotans were registered to vote as of Friday. Here's how that total broke down by political party, according to information from the secretary of state's office:
Americans Elect: 2
Sample ballots and packets that explain various ballot measures are available at county auditor's offices across South Dakota and the secretary of state's website. The website also has details about how to register to vote or request an absentee ballot.
A list of candidates and ballot measures that northeast and northcentral South Dakota and Dickey County in North Dakota will see on their ballots will be published in Sunday's American News.