Some long lines, though few issues at South Dakota polls on election day
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - UPDATE, 5 p.m.: While many South Dakota voters were met by long lines on election day, officials say overall the 2020 election has gone smoothly in the state.
South Dakota Sec. of State Steve Barnett tells Dakota News Now his office has received few reports of problems at precincts across the state. However, he said counting the record amount of absentee ballots will be a challenge.
The state received requests for well over 200,000 absentee ballots this year, compared to roughly 104,000 in 2016. This is a common theme across the country, as voters cast their ballots early to avoid potential crowds on voting day due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz said his office has 42,000 absentee ballots to count, though he said as of 5 p.m. they were ahead of schedule. He said if vote counting isn’t done by Midnight, it will begin again the next day at 8 a.m.
Polls in South Dakota close at 7 p.m., though they will remain open an hour later West River due to the Central Standard Time/Mountain Time difference. No state results will be released until after all polls close in the state - so we won’t see any results until after 8 p.m. CST.
Dakota News Now received several reports of people waiting in line up to an hour at some polling sites, especially early in the morning and again around 5 p.m. The South Dakota Secretary of State’s office recently told Dakota News Now some precincts had to be combined due to a shortage of experienced election workers, which could lead to longer lines at some locations.
Voters were greeted with long lines at many polling locations across South Dakota Tuesday.
The 2020 election is likely to be one for the record books, with many analysts predicting high voter turnout in what has been a contentious race between president Donald Trump and his challenger, Joe Biden. In addition, South Dakota voters have many other key races to determine, including ballot questions legalizing marijuana in the state.
The coronavirus pandemic has also complicated the election process this year. A record amount of absentee ballots were cast in South Dakota this year as many people looked to avoid voting in person. However, the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office recently told Dakota News Now some precincts had to be combined due to a shortage of experienced election workers, which could lead to longer lines at some locations.
South Dakota has a total of 578,322 registered voters in 2016, an increase of nearly 6% from 2016. Voter turnout in the 2016 election in South Dakota was 69.6%, well above the national average of 55%.
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