December 8, 2021

Hearing: At-Large vs Districts for Commissioners

Fall River County Commissioners want your input. Does Fall River County want to remain an at-large county for commissioner elections? This is the question that was brought to the Board at their last Commissioner meeting. In South Dakota, counties are allowed to redistrict or create districts only once in a decade after the decennial census is completed; in February of years ending in ‘2’. This is part of the process of equalizing districts. The question: Is there a districting plan that allows for more minority political success than the at-large plan?

Fall River County has looked at racial minorities and has shown that it is unable to create a district that would give a racial minority a majority vote within a single-member district. What the census doesn’t show is other types of minorities, such as political minorities. With this in mind, the Commissioners will be holding a hearing at the end of their December 2nd meeting to allow members of the public to speak in favor or against keeping the at-large commissioner system.

Do you feel there is a group in Fall River County whose vote is being quieted by the at-large system? Is this group sufficiently large and geographically compact enough that they would constitute a majority in a single-member district? Those who want to speak about this issue before the Commissioners, may attend the meeting on December 2nd, tentatively scheduled for 10:30 am. Those who cannot attend in person can contact the Auditor’s office at, 605-745-5130 as it will be possible to speak to the Commission via phone or to have a signed letter read aloud during the meeting. (Anonymous letters will not be read in the meeting.)

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