Simplified: Nearly 30,000 people voted in Tuesday’s election — about 24 percent of registered voters. Here’s what they had to say about why they cast a ballot.

Why it matters:

  • City elections historically have low turnout — and Tuesday was no exception. That means those who did turn out made decisions about elected leaders who represent the entire city of more than 200,000 people.
  • Sioux Falls Simplified spoke with voters at several precincts. The common theme among voters was that they came out out of a sense of civic duty and a desire to participate in local government.
  • Voter Jenna Szymanski echoed that sentiment, adding that people can’t — or at least shouldn’t — complain about decisions made by elected leaders if they don’t turn up to vote.
“If we want change, it’s the one thing we can do, is show up (and vote),” Szymanski said.

What voters had to say

A number of voters said they try to vote in every local election.

  • Ken Buchanan, a voter in Central Sioux Falls, said he’s only missed one in 50 years.

Jocelyn Lewis took her son along with her to vote at the downtown library Tuesday afternoon. She said she and her family just moved back to Minnehaha County after living elsewhere in the state, and she wanted to get involved.

“If you want to see change, you’ve got to get out and vote,” Lewis said.
  • JJ Johnson also took her daughter along to the polls to show her how the process works. Johnson, co-owner of ACE Academy, said students — including her daughter — learned about the election in school, and she wanted to show her how the ballot looked in-person.

Daniel Matzner said he came out to vote because his friends reminded him the election was Tuesday in the friend groups’ Discord server.

  • The platform is a way for the friends to hold each other accountable, Matzner said, adding that he wants to see more youth involved in elections.

For voter Dave Abels, it's all about participation in local government.

"You're either a participant or a bystander," he said.