Republicans and Democrats in Rapid City seek to increase voter turnout

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - With low voter turnout for Rapid City's last two municipal elections, both sides of the aisle are looking to increase voter turnout.

"I Voted" stickers at the Pennington County Auditor's Office in Rapid City. (KOTA TV)

According to the Pennington County Auditor's Office, about 44,000 people were registered to vote in Rapid City for the June municipal elections, but only 8,5000 people cast a ballot.

Ben Treadwell from the Pennington County Republican Party says they're sporting a new battle cry named "Call to Action 2020."

In addition to traditional mail and social media, he says Republicans want to form an organization called Team Republican to recruit people.

They also plan on hosting a rally in September to tout the importance of voting.

"Whether they're Democratic or Republican. I'm just saying we need to get people out and take part in the political things. It's just too important. Our country, our state, our county, everything else depends on people voting the way they want to vote so that we can follow their wishes," Treadwell says.

Sunny Gaughen from the South Dakota Democratic Party says they're hosting a number of issue caucuses and debate watch parties to encourage people to get involved.

And if people don't participate in elections the first time around, she says it could cost taxpayers' money.

"You have to pay for the ballots and getting people in and out and the extended hours, staffing all of the polling locations. It's a big endeavor that the county and the city take on. Yes, runoffs can increase costs because there has to be new elections hosted, but it's important that everybody gets an opportunity to exercise their right to vote," Gaughen says.

Gaughen hopes people get excited to vote before South Dakota's primaries come around next year in June.