South Dakota Redistricting 2000

South Dakota’s Political Lineup



State Senate18R, 17D24R, 11D
State House45R, 25D

50R, 20D

US Senators1D, 1R2D
US Reps1D1R


Redistricting Deadline

The state legislative deadline is December 1, 2001.

Who’s in Charge of Redistricting?

The legislature. Usually the executive board of the legislative council will form a special redistricting committee to report out a committee bill. Preparations have not yet been made for the 2000 round of redistricting. The governor has veto power over the legislature’s plan.


Districting Principles 



State Legis.







Political subdivisions



Communities of interest


Cores of prior districts


Protect incumbents





  + = required           - = prohibited

Public Access

The special redistricting committee usually holds hearings in the capital although they are not required by statute. Limited hearings are also held in the southwest and northern central portions of the state where large numbers of Native Americans reside. The legislature plans to use the Internet for public information purposes, but as of August 2000 has not made concrete plans.

Political Landscape

The South Dakota legislature has a short session -- 40 days long -- that ended before the census figures were released in 2001. Thus, a special session will be called to consider the redistricting committee’s proposed legislative district plan. A common point of contention between Democrats and the Republicans who control the legislature is the use of multimember house districts. Multimember districts are not required by statute or the state constitution, but have been in place for a long time. Democrats strongly oppose them and usually offer their own district plan composed of single-member districts.

South Dakota will continue to have only one at-large U.S. House seat.

Legal Issues

In March of 2000, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against the state of South Dakota, which had eliminated two single-member state house districts with Native American majorities. Generally, house legislative districts in South Dakota are multi-member, with two representatives running at-large in each district. The state had converted the Native American single-member districts back into two-seat districts in the wake of the Miller v. Johnson ruling, which had limited the use of race in drawing district lines. The Department of Justice challenge has not been decided as of August 2000.

Irregularly Shaped District

Contact Information

 Rueben B. Bezpaletz
 Chief of Research and Legal Services
 Legislative Research Council
 State Capitol
 Pierre, SD 57501
 605/773-4576 Fax
 [email protected]