South Dakota Abortion Ban: The Counties to Watch

When South Dakota voted on a ballot measure to ban abortion two years ago, it fell short, receiving 44.7% of the vote. This year, South Dakotans ...
by | October 29, 2008

When South Dakota voted on a ballot measure to ban abortion two years ago, it fell short, receiving 44.7% of the vote. This year, South Dakotans will once again weigh in on an abortion ban, with supporters hoping that the new exceptions they've added -- for rape, incest and the health of the mother -- will push the proposal over the top.

That vote two years ago makes it pretty easy to know which counties to watch on Tuesday. If a county gave the abortion ban close to 44.7% of the vote in 2006, there's a good chance that its results will mirror the statewide total this time around too.

Five counties gave the 2006 measure between 44% and 45% of the vote. They were Jackson (44.0%), Harding (44.1%), Clark (44.1%), Union (44.7%) and Brown (44.8%). As the returns come in, I'll be keeping an eye on whether the "yes" vote is hitting 50% in these counties.

These places aren't all created equal. Their populations range from over 35,000 (in Brown County, where Aberdeen is located) to barely more than 1,000 (in Harding County). Even a small place, however, can be an indicator of the statewide result.

South Dakota's most populous county, Minnehaha County, will actually also be a pretty good bellwether. Minnehaha, home to Sioux Falls, gave the 2006 abortion ban 43.3% of the vote, slightly below its statewide performance. So, if the measure is passing in Minnehaha on Tuesday, that will be pretty strong indication that it is going to win statewide.

Previously in the Counties to Watch series: Washington governor 

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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