2014: Topline Results for South Dakota Native GOTV Effort in 2014

2014: Topline Results for South Dakota Native GOTV Effort in 2014

Voter turnout around the United States declined from 2010 (the last non-presidential election) to 2014, and South Dakota was no different. In South Dakota, votes cast in 2014 declined 13% or more from 2010 levels – except in the nine counties in South Dakota with 50 percent or more Native population.

In a testament to the Four Directions approach, Native voter turnout actually increased in four of our target counties, and the remaining five declined by less than the statewide average. In fact, six of the top ten counties in voter performance were Native counties.

The chart below compares 2014 to 2010 on actual votes cast and lists the South Dakota counties with the strongest turnout.

Another important way to evaluate the 2014 effort is to compare turnout to 2002 (the year U.S. Senator Tim Johnson was saved by the Native vote), adjust for total statewide votes cast in South Dakota, and evaluate Oglala Lakota (formerly Shannon) County and Todd County data as a percentage of the total electorate.

SD Native Voter Turnout by County: 2010 versus 2014

Rank County 2010 Turnout 2014 Turnout Percent Tribe
1 Todd 2,016 2,234 111% Rosebud
2 Oglala Lakota 2,628 2,843 108% Oglala
3 Corson 889 950 107% Standing Rock
4 Buffalo 456 468 103% Crow Creek
7 Jackson 970 928 96% Oglala
9 Dewey 1,602 1,512 94% Cheyenne River
16 Mellette 766 704 92% Rosebud
17 Ziebach 704 647 92% Cheyenne River
30 Bennett 1,071 946 88% Oglala
Statewide: 323,410 282,291 87%  

SD Native Voter Turnout as a Percent of Statewide Turnout: 2002 versus 2014

County 2002 % 2014 % Change
Oglala County .93 1.01 109%
Todd County .74 .79 106%
Statewide: 340,047 282,291  

In short, even with all of the myriad challenges we faced in 2014, Native voters made up a bigger percentage of the South Dakota electorate in 2014 than in the storied 2002 re-election of U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (by 524 votes). This is astonishing given that in 2002, the effort to organize in Indian Country began in March of that year while the 2014 effort did not begin until three weeks before the election.

Four Directions, Inc., is a 501(c)4 organization. Contributions to Four Directions, Inc. are not tax-deductible for federal income tax purposes and are not subject to public disclosure. Contributions to the Coalition of Large Tribes (COLT), a federally chartered corporation organized and jointly owned and controlled by member tribes, for Native voting rights work are tax-deductible to the donor as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes and are not subject to public disclosure of any kind.