It's a familiar scene on election day, long lines of people at their local polling place, waiting to vote. Waiting is often given as an excuse by people who don't vote. Election officials in North and South Dakota have taken action, they hope will make it easier for people to vote and election officials say early returns indicate, it's working.
More money is being spent in South Dakota's race for the U.S. Senate this year than ever before. TV shows and newspapers are filled with political ads. Democratic incumbent Sen. Tom Daschle has not had any outside advertising run on behalf. Until this week, all of his ads came from his campaign. Republican challenger John Thune has gotten help from the national Republican Party -- $1 million worth so far has been spent on ads critical of Tom Daschle.
South Dakota's race for the U.S. Senate is close. The margin for a victory could be just a few hundred votes.
Two years ago, Native Americans decided a U.S. Senate race in South Dakota, where the Indian vote helped Democrat Tim Johnson beat former Republican Congressman John Thune. This year Thune is challenging the state's other senator, Democratic leader Tom Daschle. And both candidates are looking at Native Americans to give them a victory.
It's looking more and more as though South Dakota's election could be decided in court. Six people have been charged with crimes stemming from a Republican get-out-the-vote campaign. All but one were employed by the Republican party. The case raises questions about whether the ballots will count.
Voters in Minnesota are seeing the presidential election close up, this year. Swing states like Minnesota could decide control of the White House. But in South Dakota, the balance of power in the U.S. Senate is at stake. Many political watchers call the South Dakota Senate race the second most important race in the country. For voters the most critical issue is political power. Will South Dakota have more clout re-electing Tom Daschle as the Democratic Leader? Or will John Thune's Republican connections to the White House mean more for the state?
The director of the first televised presidential debate watched the first 2004 presidential debate in South Dakota. Don Hewitt was at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. He was the recipient of the 2004 Al Neuharth award for Excellence in Journalism. Hewitt is the creator of the CBS news program "60 Minutes" and he produced the 1960 debate between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon.
Mister Cool's Clothing is the last men's clothing store in the town of Marshall, Minnesota. There used to be four men's stores on Main Street. But after the mall opened, one by one the clothing stores either closed or followed the crowd to the mall. But one man kept his business on Main Street. His store is the only place for about 80 miles where men can buy a suit.
The race for the U.S. Senate in South Dakota is one of the most closely watched in the country. Former Republican Congressman John Thune is challenging Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. The race is symbolic for both Republicans and Democrats. President Bush would like the Republican candidate to win as a vote for his agenda. Democrats want their leader to win as a vote against the president. Thune and Daschle debated before a national audience on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Ralph Nader says the only way to change government is to get involved. Nader spoke in Sioux Falls Tuesday night. He talked for more than two hours, criticizing corporate greed, the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. Nader says historically, the nation's best laws have been a reaction to citizen outrage.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle is in a tough fight for re-election. Daschle, a Democrat from South Dakota, is in his closest race since first being elected to the Senate in 1986. His opponent is Republican John Thune, a former congressman who narrowly lost his first race for Senate two years ago. A major focus of the campaign is Daschle's leadership position, and what it means for South Dakota. Daschle and Thune debated each other for the first time Wednesday, on the subject of farm policy.
South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle says he wants to help save small farmers and ranchers. The Senate Minority Leader announced an initiative to create a Small Farm Administration, which would be modeled after the Small Business Administration.
Visitors to downtown Sioux Falls can take in an art show without leaving their car or going into a gallery. A new program called "Sculpturewalk," turned downtown sidewalks and trees into an art gallery. These pieces of fine art are done by regional artists. The pieces are outside for people to contemplate, critique, or maybe even to buy.
It's officially summer, and the beginning of another West Nile virus season. Every week the number of positive cases of this mosquito-borne illness increases. In North Dakota, 12 birds have tested positive, while Minnesota reported its first positive case in a bird Thursday. And in South Dakota, two people have already come down with West Nile virus. That's a month earlier than the first human case was reported last year. There are differing opinions about how the virus is moving across the United States. But the one thing experts agree on is the only way to reduce the illness is to kill mosquitoes.
There are children in Minnesota who live where meth is made. There are children whose parents use methamphetamine. In fact, when adults are arrested for using or making meth, one-third of them are the parents of small children. In one Minnesota county, there is a baby born addicted to meth every week. These are the unintended victims. The people who take care of these children feel overwhelmed. But there isn't enough data to attract the attention of policy-makers.
Stephanie Herseth is on her way to Washington D.C. where she'll become the first woman to represent South Dakota in congress. Now that the special congressional election in South Dakota is over, campaigning for the November election begins almost immediately. Democrat Stephanie Herseth will face Republican Larry Diedrich again in November for a full two year term.