According to Grant County Auditor Karen Layher, the 2016 General Election ran smoothly yesterday, November 8. No issues were reported in the county. “The planning process and all the logistics involved in the election went very well,” she stated. “The precinct workers had a busy day and I am proud of the dedicated group we had. They perform their duties diligently.”
Voter turnout in Grant County was higher than anticipated. Layher had estimated 68%, but 75.18% of eligible voters turned out.
Despite being one of the most highly watched, controversial, and stunning elections in United States history, races in South Dakota were fairly predictable. “It was a great night for Republicans,” stated newly-elected South Dakota Representative Jason Kettwig. “I am thrilled with the outcome and confidence placed in me and humbled by the response of the voters. It was a great night.” Kettwig won one of the two state representative seats for District 4. He collected 31.40% of the votes and will be joined by John Mills, who was close behind with 30.92% of the votes.
In the South Dakota State Senate race, Republican John Wiik received 60.41% of the votes. He defeated Democrat Kathy Tyler. “I am humbled and grateful for the support,” Wiik said. “I will continue to work hard to represent us in the Senate in Pierre.”
Two Grant County commissioner races were also decided. Democrat Bill Street won in District 2 with 56.01% of the votes and Republican Doug Stengel maintainied his seat for District 4 with 63.58%.
In the national races, Donald Trump took South Dakota with 61.53% of voters choosing him. Republican John Thune maintained his US Senate seat by garnering 71.83% of South Dakota’s vote. Republican Kristi Noem earned 64.10% of the vote for US Representative from South Dakota. Republican Chris Nelson was elected as Public Utilities Commissioner by earning 75.38% of votes cast.
There were 10 ballot questions on the South Dakota ballot.
Amendment R passed by 50.61%. It adds provisions to the Constitution regarding post-secondary technical educational institutes.
Amendment S, expanding the statutory right of victims of crime and placing the rights in the Constitution also passed by 59.57%.
Amendment T received a vote of 57.03%. It will leave the Constitution as it is in regard to providing state legislative redistricting by a commission.
Amendment U, an initiated amendment to the Constitution limiting the ability to set statutory interest rates for loans, did not pass. It received 63.26% of the votes.
Amendment V was also voted down by 55.49% of voters. That amendment would have established nonpartisan elections.
Three Initiated Measures were also on the ballot.
Measure 21 passed with a 75.58% vote. It will prohibit certain money lenders from charging more than 36% interest on loans.
Measure 22 passed by 51.62%. It will revise state campaign finance and lobbying laws.
Measure 23 was voted down by 79.69%. The measure was attempting to allow certain organizations the right to charge fees.
Finally, two referred laws were on the ballot.
Referred Law 19 was voted down by 71.05%. It focused on revising state laws regarding elections and election petitions.
Referred Law 20 was also voted down by 71.13%. It called for lowering the minimum wage for non-tipped employees under the age of 18.