EDITORIAL: Apathy no excuse for not registering

2012-08-22T07:30:00Z EDITORIAL: Apathy no excuse for not registering Rapid City Journal
August 22, 2012 7:30 am

Some political observers have called this November's election the most important in United States history.

You wouldn't know it by looking at South Dakota's voter registration numbers. With only about two-and-one-half months to go before the Nov. 6 election, fewer people have registered to vote in South Dakota than were registered in 2008. There are 3.2 percent fewer registered voters in the state than four years ago, a drop of 16,841 people.

More South Dakotans are abandoning party labels and are choosing to register as independents. According to figures by the South Dakota Secretary of State's office, voters who have registered as independents increased by 7.5 percent, or 6,253, over 2008.

By contrast, both Democrats and Republicans have fewer registered voters than four years ago. Registered Republicans have dipped 2 percent, or 4,622, while Democrats have lost 18,732 voters, or about 9 percent.

It's understandable that many people are becoming turned off by the partisan bickering and are registering as independents. The hyper-partisanship has only increased in the last four years.

There could many reasons for the drop in voter registration from 2008. Four years ago, the possible election of the nation's first black president in Barack Obama excited the electorate, especially Democrats. Is there less enthusiasm for Obama this time around?

Also, in 2008, Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D., were facing re-election. This year, the only statewide contest is between Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., and Democrat Matt Varilek.

The last time that South Dakotans cast their electoral votes for a Democratic presidential candidate was 1964, when President Lyndon Johnson was re-elected in a landslide. Even favorite son George McGovern couldn't carry his home state in 1972. Republicans outnumber Democrats in South Dakota by 50,865 voters, so the trend may continue this year.

It's disappointing to see fewer people participating in the democratic process by not registering to vote. It's easy to become cynical about politics and politicians, but apathy is not the answer.

Fortunately, there is still plenty of time to register before the Nov. 6 election. Between now and November, be sure to do your civic duty and register to vote.

Copyright 2015 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(5) Comments

  1. Jim Stewart
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    Jim Stewart - August 24, 2012 2:12 am
    Jason, thanks for the laugh. If you think President Obama is going to win in a landslide I have some Florida beach front property to sell you (when the tide is out).
  2. Bobbie
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    Bobbie - August 23, 2012 7:54 am
    Jason " it will probably be a landslide electoral victory for The President unless something significant happens in the next two months."

    Oh you mean like the main stream media talking about important things like the economy and our debt crisis, instead of what mexican food Obama likes or if he made parr on his last golf outing?
  3. Jason
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    Jason - August 22, 2012 5:24 pm
    I have always cherished my right to vote. However, my presidential vote, and yours too if you live in South Dakota, will almost certainly be worthless in the general election. Obama has a significant lead in a number of the states he needs to lead in to get electoral votes. So while the popular vote is extremely close according to current polling, it will probably be a landslide electoral victory for The President unless something significant happens in the next two months.
  4. nwsdcitizen
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    nwsdcitizen - August 22, 2012 1:42 pm
    I embarrassed when I hear how many people don't vote in our country. In my opinion you lose your right to complain about the shape of our country if you can't take the time to even vote. I often hear the statement "my vote doesn't count anyway", even if that is "sometimes" true there are many issues up for vote including, referendums, initiatives, school board, local and state officials to mention a few. All of these have an everyday effect on our lives, With the ability to vote absentee a long time ahead of the actual election there really is no excuse for not voting. Get out and vote or quit complaining!!!
  5. ApathySlayer101
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    ApathySlayer101 - August 22, 2012 9:57 am
    I believe more people are aware of the situation with our political system which is actually leading to apathy. Consider the GOP and their rules with voting? My wife didn't realize she was registered as an independent when she went to vote in the (local) primary. She was astonished when she opened her ballot and saw only a local candidate to vote for. Not one Presidential candidate was listed on her ballot and she was told this is because she was registered as an independent. I understand the Democratic Party does not have this restriction in place, however, they have their own problems as well. I've voted both Democratic as well as Republican over the years and it seems more often than not that the two parties are essentially the same. I'm frustrated with the broken campaign promises which seems to happen more than what these people actually accomplish when they get into office. I guess this is why a few of our founding fathers spoke often about the idea of having parties arise into our governmental system. They didn't like the idea.
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