Voter registration trend continues

Call them the “third column.” Heading into the June 5 statewide election, independent and no-party voters now rank second in 11 counties.

There are more “third-column” voters registered than Democrats in Butte, Lawrence, Pennington, Meade, Custer, Fall River, Brookings, Lincoln and Union counties.

There are more third-column than Republicans in heavily Democratic counties of Oglala Lakota and Todd.

Together they’re one-sixth of South Dakota’s 66 counties.

Statewide, registrations as of Wednesday were 156,405 Democrats; 249,932 Republicans; 121,478 independents and NPAs; 471 Constitutionalists; 1,722 Libertarians; and 791 others.

The spread 10 years ago for the November general election? 204,413 Democrats; 241,528 Republicans; and 83,147 independents and others.