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Election 2022 primer: What to know before heading to polls

2022 Elections SDPB

Thousands of South Dakotans are heading to polls Tuesday to choose the state's next leaders and decide on several major issues.

The 2022 ballot is one of the most loaded in recent memory. SDPB has put together a brief explanation of the major races, as well as links to more extensive previous coverage and other important election resources.

Where do I vote?

You can find your polling location and preview your full ballot on the South Dakota Secretary of State's website.

South Dakota Governor

Republican incumbent Gov. Kristi Noem is challenged by Democrat Jamie Smith and Libertarian Tracey Quint.

Initially elected governor in 2018, Noem previously served as the state’s lone representative to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving four two-year terms from 2011 to 2019. She was a state representative for two terms before that. Noem has increased her national political profile in recent years.

Smith currently serves as the South Dakota House of Representative’s minority leader, a role that he assumed in 2019. He was first elected in 2016, representing a Sioux Falls district.

While Quint has not served as an elected official before, she has been a member of the executive committee of the state’s Libertarian party since 2017.

More resources: SDPB Gubernatorial Debate; Dakota News Now Gubernatorial Debate

U.S. Senate

Incumbent Republican Sen. John Thune is challenged by Democrat Brian Bengs and Libertarian Tamara Lesnar.

Thune's career in politics began in 1996 when South Dakotans elected him to the U.S. House of Representatives. He ran for Senate in 2002, losing to incumbent Democrat Tim Johnson. Two years later, he defeated Democrat Tom Daschle, the Senate Minority Leader at the time. He has served in the Senate ever since.

Bengs, a retired Lt. Colonel, served 19 years with the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps. This is his first time seeking public office.

Lesnar is the Libertarian candidate for Senate. She has not previously held public office.

More resources: SDPB/Dakota News Now Senate Debate

U.S. House

Incumbent Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson is challenged by Libertarian Collin Duprel.

Johnson was elected to the South Dakota Public Utilites Commission in 2004, and later served in Gov. Dennis Daugaard's administration. He was elected as the state's lone representative in the U.S. House in 2018.

Duprel is Vice-Chair of the South Dakota Libertarian Party. He has not previously held public office.

There is no Democratic candidate for U.S. House.

More resources: SDPB House Debate

State legislative races

Dozens of seats in the state legislature are up for grabs. The candidates on your ballot will depend on your district. SDPB In the Moment host Lori Walsh has interviewed many of these of legislative candidates. Find all those interviews here.

Ballot questions

Constitutional Amendment D would expand Medicaid eligibility in South Dakota. Supporters argue it would provide health care access to thousands of South Dakotans. Opponents argue it would lead to increase costs for the state. Read the attorney general's full explanation here.

Initiated Measure 27 would legalize the possession and use of marijuana for residents over the age of 21. IM 27 would not legalize the sale of marijuana. Proponents say legalizing cannabis would decrease stress on the criminal justice system and create a new stream of revenue for the state. Opponents say it would increase crime and endanger children. Read the attorney general's full explanation here.

South Dakota Focus examined ballot questions and other statewide races in an election special. Watch the full special here.

Find additional SDPB coverage of the 2022 election here.

Josh Chilson is the news director at South Dakota Public Broadcasting. A Florence, S.D. native, Josh graduated with a journalism degree from South Dakota State University. He has worked as as a newspaper reporter and videographer, and most recently as managing editor for Dakota News Now. Josh is based out of SDPB's Sioux Falls studio.