Election Review Committee Comes Up With Recommendations

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It’s been just more than three months since the Minnehaha Co. Commission voted to create an Election Review Committee to look into the problems that plagued the Nov. election.

Delayed results, people heading to the wrong polling places and some receiving the wrong absentee ballots were just a few of the problems voters encountered. The committee now has some recommendations that they hope will fix some of the problems.

The November election has come and gone, but over the committee has been pouring over what went wrong. They found that some voters received the wrong ballots because of the conversion of data from an old system to a new one.

During the election, Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz was criticized for not counting those ballots early enough. The committee recommended that he consider counting them before the polls close on election night. However, Litz says that all depends on the resources he has available.

Litz said, “In the event that happens, I need to have additional staff who are trusted election personnel to be able to run those machines for the absentee that day.”

To help things move along faster, they also recommended that the auditor have extra ballot resolution team available, that more space to provided to the auditor on election night and purchasing another ballot counting machine be considered.

“We are experiencing voter fatigue here in our city. We have record low turnout and it’s because we have a school board here, we’ve got the city here and we’ve got the federal here. Why can’t we combine some of these?” asked Theresa Stahly of Sioux Falls.

But one of the most controversial topics is how to manage polling sites. Although the committee recognized it’s a problem, they decided not to make a recommendation on whether the county should stick with precincts or to move to voting centers like the city and school district.

“I know we have heard frustration and we heard some more today about musical polling places,” said Former Minnehaha Co. Auditor Sue Roust. “We’ve got difficulties, we know we have difficulties.”

But committee members say they don’t know what the solution is there.

The recommendations need to be voted on by all committee members and the auditor before it’s brought to the county commission for approval.

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