With vote counts lasting late into the night Tuesday, Nov. 6, Walworth County voters let their voices be heard on the new jail facility and South Dakotans elect a female governor for the first time in the state’s history.
It will be back to the drawing board for the county commission as voters defeated a bond issue that would have funded a new regional jail facility, with 69 percent of voters casting ballots against the $10.5 million bond issue and 31 percent of voters favoring the issue.
With a massive turnout of nearly 62 percent, 2,290 ballots were cast in this election. There are 3,699 registered voters in the county.
Also on the county ballot was the race for the auditor position in the county. Incumbent Rebecca Krein (R) of rural Selby defeated challenger Charisse Janke (Ind) of Java, with 79 percent of the vote in Krein’s favor.
There were no challengers for seats up for election on the Walworth County Commission.
In District 23, incumbent Senator Justin R. Cronin, (R) from Gettysburg defeated challenger Joe Yracheta, (D) of Selby by 1,418 votes, taking home 82 percent of all votes cast in the district.
Incumbents Spencer Gosch of Glenham and John Lake of Gettysburg, both Republicans, easily held on to their seats in the South Dakota House of Representatives. Gosch received 46 percent of the votes, with Lake taking home 36 percent in the district.
On the state level, in a very close race, Kristi Noem (R), and her running mate Larry Rhoden defeated Billie Sutton (D), and his running mate Michelle Lavallee. Noem will be the state’s first female governor in its history. Statewide, in a close race, Noem and Rhoden received 51 percent of the votes cast to Sutton and Lavellee’s 48 percent. In Walworth County, Noem’s team easily defeated the Democrats by garnering 65 percent of the vote.
Republican Dustin “Dusty” Johnson, a Republican from Mitchell, soundly defeated the four challengers, earning 60 percent of the votes cast statewide. The closest of the three challengers, Democrat Tim Bjorkman, received 36 percent of the vote. In Walworth County, Johnson received 73 percent of votes cast to Bjorkman’s 24 percent.
In the S.D. Attorney General race Republican Jason Ravnsborg of Yankton, won the election, garnering 55 percent of the vote with former Mobridge resident Randy Seiler receiving 45 percent statewide. In Walworth County, Ravnsborg took 63 percent of the vote to Seiler’s 37 percent.
In the race for state auditor, Rich Sattgast (R) of Pierre defeated Tom Cool (D) of Sioux Falls handily, taking 64 percent of the votes cast. In Walworth County, Sattgast received 76 percent of the votes cast.
Josh Haeder (R), of Huron will be the next state treasurer as he defeated Aaron Matson (D) of Sioux Falls taking 62 percent of the votes cast. Voters in Walworth County cast 77 percent of votes in favor of Haeder.
Voters elected Steve Barnett (R) of Pierre as the new Secretary of State, defeating Alexandra Frederick (D) of Winner. Barnett received 65 percent of the votes cast statewide. Barnett had a strong showing in Walworth County, taking 80 percent of the votes cast.
Republican Kristie Fiegen defeated Democrat Wayne Frederick to take a seat on the Public Utilities Commission by taking 65 percent of the vote statewide. In Walworth County she received 78 percent of the votes cast.
Ryan Brunner, Republican, defeated Democrat Woody Houser to be the next Commissioner of School and Public Land by taking 62 percent of the vote statewide. He received 76 percent of the vote in Walworth County.
On the ballot issues and measures, statewide, voters defeated Constitutional Amendment W: An initiated amendment to the South Dakota Constitution changing campaign finance and lobbying laws, creating a government accountability board with no votes of 55 percent. In Walworth County, this amendment 69 percent of voters voted no on this amendment.
Constitutional Amendment X, which was an amendment to the South Dakota Constitution increasing the number of votes needed to approve a constitutional amendment was also defeated with 64 percent of the votes cast against the amendment. In Walworth County, this amendment 54 percent of voters cast no ballots.
South Dakotans voted in favor of Constitutional Amendment Z, an amendment to the South Dakota Constitution establishing that a proposed constitutional amendment may embrace only one subject, and requiring proposed amendments to be presented and voted on separately by a vote of 62 percent. In Walworth County, this amendment was approved with 55 percent voting in favor.
In a close statewide vote Initiated Measure 24, the measure prohibiting contributions to ballot question committees by non-residents, out-of-state political committees, and entities that are not filed with the Secretary of State, was approved with 56 percent of South Dakotans voting in favor of this measure. In Walworth County, voters 53 percent of voters cast ballots against this measure
In another close vote, state wide South Dakotans defeated Initiated Measure 25, which would have increased the tobacco tax and created a postsecondary technical institute fund for the purposes of lowering student tuition and providing financial support to the State postsecondary technical institutes. The measure was defeated statewide with 56 percent voting no. In Walworth County, voters also defeated the measure casting 66 percent of no votes.
Statewide, nearly 63 percent of registered voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s election.
– Katie Zerr –