Election campaigns in the Black Hills reflect the history and culture of the region. A pattern of strong support for the Republican Party stretches back to the years before statehood. At the time of the June, 2012 primary election, 54.2 percent of the region’s voters were registered as Republicans, 32.2 percent as Democrats and Independents, which leaves 13.6 percent registered under another party.
Republicans were strongest in Lawrence County where they accounted for 61 percent of active voters. American Indian voters in Shannon County gave the Democrats a 90.8 percent majority. Custer County had the highest percentage of people registered in a non standard party – 18.7percent.
In addition to their strong support for Republican candidates in partisan elections, voters in the Black Hills have tended to reflect strong opposition to government intrusion on personal freedoms. This libertarian streak has been evident in voting on ballot propositions and is a popular theme in political campaigns. For more details, visit the South Dakota Secretary of State.
To see county by county results of the 2012 primary view this interactive map created by Politico. The 2008 presidential election results are also available on a interactive county by county level. For those results click here.
Federal Campaign Contributions
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) provides quarterly data on contributions to federal candidates. The FEC offers an interactive map that allows you to see contributions to candidates for President of the United States from donors from South Dakota or just Black Hills zip codes. For an overview of contributions to South Dakota candidates for the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives as of September 30, 2011, click here. This report also provides information on contributions by political action committees (PACs). For a listing of all federal political actions committees registered in the Black Hills, click here.
Voter Turnout by County June 2012 Primary Election
The majority of the voters in the 2012 Primary Election were republican according to the voter registration and turnout data provided by the state government. This data can be found here. Most counties reported a voter turnout of around 25 percent for total registered voters. More information on the 2012 Primary Election voter turnout can be seen in the interactive graph below.
Voter Turnout by County and by Party, November 2010 General Election
Voter turnout in the November, 2010 election also reflected different levels of political engagement. With the governor’s seat on the line, 58.7 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the Black Hills, compared to 62.3 percent statewide. Non-metro, non-reservation counties experienced the highest voter turnout, with Custer County leading the way with 69.8 percent. In Pennington County, voter turnout was 59.4 percent. In Shannon County, 34.9 percent of registered voters cast ballots. Voter turnout statistics for the November 2010 election from the Secretary of State’s website are reflected in the chart below.