SD Announces New Way For Troops To Vote
by Jill Johnson
December 02, 2013 4:10 PM
It can take up to 60 days for a soldier to cast their vote from overseas. Now, the state of South Dakota has a solution to make that process faster and easier.
Maj. Martin Yost said, "Each time the absentee ballot process is lengthy, and it's a little bit confusing."
Yost with the South Dakota National Guard has served his country overseas twice. While he was there,
he went through the lengthy process of voting.
Yost said, "When you're in a remote area it even becomes more of a process."
A process that's too long for our service men and women, according to Secretary of State Jason Gant.
Gant said, "They're serving overseas. They're putting their lives on the line for our right to cast a ballot and I think it's only right that we should take our responsibility to give them all the resources necessary so that we can count their ballot."
But now, thanks to a federal grant, the state was able to create a program called iOASIS. Because of it,
precincts will be able get soldiers' ballots closer to the election, instead of days after.
Gant said, "You're able to use it on a personal computer, a laptop, a smart phone, a tablet."
The program uses technology that's already issued to members of the military, called the Common Access Card. The system works with all 66 databases used by county auditors throughout South Dakota to verify their information.
"We're able to determine by jurisdiction which ballot that soldier should receive," said Gant.
From there, soldiers can not only register to vote, but request, receive and mark an absentee ballot in just a matter of minutes.
"I think this process is going to be something that will help solve this national problem that we have across the country," Gant said.
The ballots still need to be printed and mailed.
The iOASIS program will officially be launched for the 2014 elections.