Sioux Falls adapts to unique election day

Published: Jun. 2, 2020 at 6:54 PM CDT
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South Dakotans are heading to the polls today for the Presidential Primary Election.

The City of Sioux Falls election scheduled for April 14th was also rescheduled for today, so there’s a bit more on the ballot.

Sioux Falls voters have 12 hours to make their voice be heard by voting for both state positions and city positions, as well as school board members in this year’s unique election day.

Due to the Coronavirus, Minnehaha County Auditor, Bob LItz, says it was a better idea to squeeze two separate elections into one day.

Litz said, “The city clerk and I got together and thought that we could save taxpayer dollars by doing the two elections with the same workers, at the same place, at the same time.”

Litz says around 400 volunteers are helping out at the nearly 80 voting precincts around the city.

100 of those volunteers are counting absentee ballots for both elections.

“As a result of that (rescheduled election), their absentee time stretched way out, I think they’ve had their 65 days of absentee and we’ve had our normal 45. With that, as a result we have 25,000 absentee ballots,” said Litz.

The ACLU of South Dakota emphasizes the importance of absentee ballots during this time, saying “absentee voting and voting by mail is a common-sense solution to protect voters’ safety and the health of our democracy.”

Polling precincts are taking precautions because of COVID-19 such as shields, hand sanitizers, and one-time use pens.

Tonya Knutson and Randy Davidson voted at the polls today and say it’s important to be there in-person.

Davidson said, “We have a lot of time on our hands and we could make it so we didn’t have to file an absentee ballot.”

Knutson added, “I feel it’s a really important thing that we do the work of coming here, this makes it more special and more protected.”

As far as getting out and voting, it makes Knutson emotional.

“It is one of our most cherished, I get emotional, constitutional rights. It’s a big deal, we vote every time,” said Knutson.

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