Our Challenges

Our Low Voter Turnout

Rapid City consistently experiences low voter turnout in municipal elections. Since 2015, the maximum amount of registered voters who have participated in a local election was 31.68% (mayoral election year), and the low was 12.16% (City Council elections only).

Our Low Candidate Interest

Rapid City also experiences a low amount of candidate interest in running for public office. The mayoral seat went unopposed in 2017. In 2019, one candidate challenged Mayor Allender for the mayoral office, and in 2020 two Council seats went unopposed. This is not uncommon in Rapid City.

Our Current Form of Government

Under our current strong-mayor, an aldermanic form of government with Dillon’s Rule, the state of South Dakota holds all of the authority. If a unique situation develops, requiring a unique response from the local government, the city is powerless to act without specific authority provided by the state legislature. Dillon's Rule was formed to keep government authority away from cities while consolidating power within the state. It is the opposite of local control. 

Our Advantage

As we recover from the economic hardships brought on by COVID-19 with the rest of the nation and world, it would be to our advantage to have more local control at our disposal.