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May 19, 2014 05:55 PM

Slow Rate Of Absentee Voting In Minnehaha County

Sioux Falls, SD

The mad rush to vote early in the upcoming South Dakota primary election isn't happening. At least not in Minnehaha County. According to Auditor Bob Litz, the number of absentee ballots his office has received is nowhere near where officials thought it would be.

"Well, honestly, it's been a little slower than anticipated. I've got total of 744 absentee ballots, and that includes the ones that are mailed out. Out of that 744, we've actually got 405 in back today," Litz said.

Litz says an average election cycle typically produces 1,500 to 1,600 submitted absentee ballots, and they are less than halfway to that number.

"It's unpredictable. It's sporadic; that would be the best way to describe it. We've got two weeks to go and generally toward the end, it picks up a little bit," Litz said.

One person taking advantage of the option to vote early is retired federal judge John Jones.

"I'm going to be in New Orleans the 3rd of June, but I love to vote. I try to vote every election and I'm anxious to vote absentee if I can't be here," Jones said.

Jones says that he still feels a big part of the election process by voting two weeks early.

"Absolutely. Yep. You bet. My vote counts just as much as if I voted the 3rd of June," Jones said.

While people will still be able to mail in and submit their absentee ballots leading up to the primary, one thing that does come to a close on Monday is voter registration.

Anyone not registered by 5 p.m. won't be counted at the primary.

"It does tend to ramp up a little bit before the elections, but we're very busy down here with voter registration all the time," Litz said.

Anyone wishing to vote absentee in Minnehaha County can stop by the Auditor's Office to fill out a ballot. You will also have the opportunity to review a sample ballot before casting your own.

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