Undervotes show many SD voters either don’t know or don’t care

From Cameraman Bruce;

Post-election, I always like to look at how campaign messages get out to the voters and how it encourages them to actually vote in an election. As a resolutions board judge for many elections, I am always surprised how many people go to the polling place and then just turn in an empty ballot. My guess this year, from the statistics so far provided, shows .7% of the voters didn’t want to vote. I know it’s not exact because of the way people mark ballots but from experience, the fact that Noem – Sutton race has the lowest under vote shows people wanted to actually vote.

Under votes are lost opportunities for campaigns. I like to look at this to determine what might have worked or not. Would closing the campaign under vote have made the difference for the losing effort? This year, I don’t see any race loses to blame on under votes.

Now, I’d like to know the number of provisional ballots attempted.


#1 Warren Phear on 11.10.18 at 9:42 pm

Considering who is now our governor, I’d say don’t know AND don’t care.

#2 Moldy Taco on 11.10.18 at 10:27 pm

Donita Noem has caused this. Total voter apathy

#3 JKC on 11.11.18 at 12:18 pm

How does the under vote for congress and governor compare to other years? If it is greater, then it probably has to do with the right of center campaigns that Tim and Billie ran on issues like abortion and guns, which turned off true liberals.

My guess is also, that part of the under vote in the gubernatorial race had to do with a misogynistic attitude by some conservatives and their unwillingness to vote for a woman nor a Democrat.

The fact, that the under vote for governor was less than half of the congressional vote speaks to how many, mostly liberals most likely, thought Billie had a chance of winning, so they begrudgingly voted for him instead of being a part of the under vote merely due to philosophical concerns.

But there were definitely no coattails in this race, huh? Billie’s campaign was a compelling story that began and ended with him; and the lack of a true GOTV is why Billie lost and other Democrats did not do better. At some point Democrats need to stop trying to run Republican campaigns against Republicans and obsess only with message, and start running McGovern campaigns against Republicans. Democrats need to learn that message is merely the icing on the cake, while the cake is a true GOTV and not a glorified leaflet drop passed off as a GOTV effort in the final days of a campaign…

#4 The Guy from Guernsey on 11.11.18 at 12:49 pm

With an undervote of 3% on IM 25, compared to the standard undervote rate of 7-10% rate on IMs and Constitutional Amendments, voters were apparently very compelled to cast a ballot on the IM 25 issue.
Factors: an IM related to increasing taxes and the large investment in messaging by both sides, but especially by the ‘No on 25’ folks.

#5 The Guy from Guernsey on 11.11.18 at 1:11 pm

In addition to lending his reputation and influence to the issue, Mark Mickelson used a chunk of his own money to promote adoption of IM 25.
I am skeptical that he wants to continue to seek political office. Given that he was able to dedicate personal funds toward adoption of IM 25, he certainly does not need to do so.
Nonetheless, as IM 25 went down, so did the prospects of Mark Mickelson as a viable Republican candidate in the future. He is now solidly identified as a ‘tax and spend’ politician. He will be hard-pressed to shake that label in the party.
The Pressler Option is still available for him.

#6 The Guy from Guernsey on 11.11.18 at 7:24 pm

The undervote in the gubernatorial races of 2002 (Rounds / Abbott) and 2010 (Daugaard / Heidepriem) was 1.72% (5,848 undervotes) and 1.96% (6,327 votes).
Each more than twice the undervote % from the 2016 general election.

#7 The Guy from Guernsey on 11.11.18 at 7:48 pm

The undervote for the US House of Repr seat in 2002 (Janklow / Herseth / Marking) and 2010 (Noem / Herseth-Sandlin) were 1.06% (3,600 undervotes) and 1.23% (3,984 undervotes), respectively.
The 2016 race (Johnson / Bjorkman) attracted a lower % of voters to cast ballots in the race, compared to those races in 2002 and 2010.
The floor is open for your speculative interpretation.

#8 The Guy from Guernsey on 11.11.18 at 7:52 pm

In 2016, a higher % of voters cast ballots in the gubernatorial race than in the race for US House of Rep.
In 2002 and 2010, the races for US House of Rep drew a greater % of voters than did the respective gubernatorial races.

#9 JKC on 11.12.18 at 1:48 pm


Understanding your “2016” mentions to actually be 2018, here are my “speculative interpretation(s):”

The under votes in ’02 and ’10 for governor were greater, because the voters did not recognize a race or a toss-up, thus, less interest. Plus, in ’02 Johnson/Thune and in ’10 Herseth/Noem got all of the attention.

You mentioned that, “…The 2016 race (Johnson / Bjorkman) attracted a lower % of voters to cast ballots in the race, compared to those races in 2002 and 2010.” Well, why was this? Possibly because the Johnson/Bjorkman race never gained the excitement and or attention that Janklow/Herseth ’02 and Herseth/Noem ’10 did.

Your final statement reflects on how the hotter races get more attention and participation by voters…

Say, check out Olivier and Sutton’s numbers in northern Lincoln County in District 12. It looks like the “Taupe Housing Society of Conformity” went further blue in 2018 in that District. Why? Organization, the proximity of the candidates locale to that region, and the impact of college educated white women voting for blue women (Billie/Michelle) in 2018 is my guess.

#10 The Guy from Guernsey on 11.12.18 at 9:20 pm

Fair analysis. I was expecting a bit more ideology, such as the folly of ‘Dems running Republican campaigns against Republicans’.

But I agree that Sutton and Noem were engaged in the most interesting contest in 2018; Janklow, Herseth-Sandlin and Noem were the candidates which compelled highest voter participation in 2002 and 2010.

If the Sutton campaign ‘turned off’ liberals because it was right of center, it attracted Independants and Republicans. ‘Sutton Republicans’! Lots of them. The lowest undervote of all the races.

A big factor: Sutton created a bigger tent (where have I heard that before?).
But don’t discount the anti-political establishment sentiment which brought change (and DJT) to DC in 2016. There is a similar undercurrent in SD after the past 16+ years in which the political establishment has frequently and blatantly disregarded the wishes of their constituents.

I would challenge that there were coat-tails from the race for Governor – in Dist 12, 13 and 14. Without exit polls, we can only speculate on gender, race and education. But there is little doubt that lots of Independents and Repubs in those districts voted for Dem candidates. I was one of them. I also voted for some Dem candidates down the ballot. For me, the coat-tails were an extension of the desire to install different officeholders other than those which would simply be “more of the same” from the political establishment.

And it could be that 12, 13 and 14 are indeed turning Blue (I can almost sense your glee through the interwebs). If I were Dave Roetman I would be worrying about that, rather than b.s.’ing Ravnsborg detractors on KELOland’s Facebook page on the day after the election with claims that Jason Ravnsborg “has experience with US and State Supreme Court cases”.

And, yes. I intended ‘2018’ in each case when ‘2016’ was written in previous replies (too many Secretary of State tabs and files simultaneously open on a tablet). ;^)

#11 JKC on 11.13.18 at 10:54 am


Sutton was an attractive candidate with a compelling story. The likes of him only comes along once in every fifty to a hundred years. Sutton attracted Republicans and Independents because they thought he could win and not because of his crafted ideology. Because if it had been his crafted ideology that almost sealed the deal, then how do you explain Bjorkman’s right of center campaign never getting off the ground? The difference between Sutton and Bjorkman was image and not ideology when it came to having had a chance at winning…… And the message that Democrats must take from the Sutton attempt is that until Democrats get serious about GOTV, they will continue to be at the mercy of a Sutton candidacy, which doesn’t show up every two years, rather it shows up once in many decades.

#12 Bruce on 11.13.18 at 11:37 am

I contend, with my data research so far as the basis, there were no coattails of any kind on the Democratic side down ticket.

The individuals who won the Minnehaha County side of their districts, did so because they worked hard. The Lincoln County side of their districts needed more smarter work.

The Democratic candidates who won in the Sioux Falls area accomplished it because they worked hard to inform and then transform enough voters into being supporters.

I personally believe South Dakota is still a purple / progressive state looking for a reason to actually mark ballots differently if only given the reason to do so.

The Sutton campaign reminded me of the Janklow – McKellips race of 1978, Janklow was behind in many polls but they got out their voters through organization and the usual October surprise routine the GOP always does. Anyone who runs a campaign in South Dakota should be ready for the old October Surprise formula to be used and be ready to to be defeated when ignoring it.

This was the Democratic Party’s race to lose and they came through as usual. South Dakota voters were ready for a real change but now we are set to exist as the Noem led government tries to reinvent.

The under voters are always interesting because it shows the lack of coordination between candidates and campaigns. The ineffectual party processes of the Democrats shines constantly as I examine ballots on election night.

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