Next Tuesday, June 5, is primary election day in South Dakota.
Please mark that on your calendar. Program your smartphone to remind you that voting will be on your "to do" list that day.
Please, please, please. Participate.
It's easy to grumble about the state of affairs in Washington, DC, or in Pierre, or even in our community.
What we all seem to so easily forget is we always have an opportunity to be active participants in government. Every time an election is scheduled, we are given the ability to become involved.
In a brief release sent to media last week, Gov. Dennis Daugaard writes, "Voting is one of our nation's most cherished freedoms. There are still parts of the world where people do not have the right to vote in free and fair elections, and in America it is something that we should never take for granted."
Daugaard also shares a message once spoken by former Gov. George Mickelson, who said, "Decisions are made by those who show up."
We reported last week on the various scenarios that await Clay County voters on June 5.
Four distinct elections will be held in the county, thanks to a mix of city, school and statewide primary elections all occurring on Tuesday. The races that a voter in Clay County will be asked to decide will depend on the voter's political affiliation and place of residence.
For example, Republicans residing in Clay County outside of the Vermillion School District will be given a ballot to vote for presidential delegates in the Republican presidential primary election that will be held statewide that day.
The ballot that will be presented to county Democrats residing outside of the Vermillion School District will include only one race – the Democratic U.S. House primary election.
All voters residing within the Vermillion city limits will be asked to choose two of three school board candidates seeking a three-year term. In addition, voters in only Vermillion's Central Ward will participate in the local city council.
Central Ward Republicans will be given a ballot that includes the city race, the school board race and the presidential primary.
The ballot that will be issued to Central Ward Democrats will have the city race, the school board race and the Democratic U.S. House primary race. Independents in the Central Ward may participate in the Democratic primary if they wish. Central Ward independent voters also have the option to be issued a nonpolitical primary ballot that includes only the school district and city council races.
Republicans living in the Northwest, Southeast and Northeast wards in the city of Vermillion, and in the Vermillion School District outside of the city limits, will be issued ballots that contain the Republican presidential primary races and the nonpolitical Vermillion School Board race.
Democrats who reside in Vermillion's Northwest, Southeast and Northeast wards, or within the Vermillion School District outside of the city limits, will be issued ballots that contain the statewide Democratic U.S. House primary race, and the local nonpolitical Vermillion School Board race. Independent voters residing in this particular area may also participate in the Democratic U.S. House primary race.
Because of these complexities, we encourage people to arrive at the polls early. Polls in Clay County will open at 7 a.m. Tuesday, June 5, and close at 7 p.m.
Residents of Rural Ward 1, including Pleasant Valley, Garfield, Glenwood and Riverside townships, will vote at the Southeastern South Dakota Experimental Farm, located at 29974 University Road, Beresford.
Voters in Rural Ward 2, which includes Star and Bethel townships, the town of Wakonda and the town of Irene, will vote at the Senior Citizens Center, 119 Ohio St., Wakonda.
All other voters in Clay County will cast their ballots at the 4-H Center, 515 High St., Vermillion. This includes residents of Rural Ward 3 who reside in Prairie Center, Spirit Mound, Meckling, Norway, Vermillion and Fairview townships, and the Central, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast 1 and Southeast 2 wards.
Don't sit on the sidelines. Please remember to "show up" at the polls next Tuesday.