Absentee Voting increases for join city election, county primary
When the city of Sioux Falls delayed its April 14th election due to the pandemic, organizers looked at a joint venture.
The joint Sioux Falls election and Minnehaha County primary is June 2nd. The city election includes a school board position, two city council positions, and two amendments. The Democratic primary ballot offers presidential candidates, while the Republican primary lists candidates for the State Senate, State Representative, and Committee Positions.
When the city of Sioux Falls delayed their April 14th election due to the pandemic, organizers looked at a joint venture. Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz describes how it was scheduled with efficiency in mind by joining the city and county.
"We opted to have our elections together instead of having one and then another one, two weeks apart, figured we'd save the taxpayers dollars and make it more convenient for the voters," said Litz.
There's a steady stream of voters arriving at 6th and Dakota, choosing to absentee vote in person now. Ballots by mail have been requested in record numbers.
"And we were inundated with those we've got well over 30,000 between the city and us, that we have sent out. Now the return rate on those isn't is quite as high as we were expecting it to be, but the elections not here either," said Litz.
While poll workers in the past have often been of retirement age, many are staying safely at home, leaving a great need for help. Litz reached out to teachers.
"Teachers they deal with their children, parents, you have principals and school boards and everything that you know would translate into making a good election worker, so I'm very grateful to have the teachers in Sioux Falls school district step up and fill in a lot of these slots," said Litz.
Sioux Falls City Clerk Tom Greco says more help is needed to man the polls, now and on election day.
"We have a ton, literally well over a ton of absentee ballots to process and we need some nimble fingers out there to kind of get through those envelopes and keep the process going," said Greco.
Election centers and the tabulation of votes will look different this time. The three tabulation machines are expected to run smoothly, as they performed in the last election. The County auditor's office had an appropriation to purchase a fourth machine, however, it's German-based manufacturer is not able to supply any additional machines.
"We'll be working between that election center, and the old courthouse Museum, to make sure we're that we have social distancing and following all the steps that we need to make sure that we're keeping track of all that equipment and especially those ballots coming in," said Greco.
Organizers are taking extra precautions while making several options available to cast your vote. You can vote absentee by mail, vote absentee now at the election center at 6th and Dakota, or in-person on June 2nd.
Both the city and county office workers suggest you bring a pen if you prefer to not use one supplied. Additional sanitizing supplies will be available.