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Absentee Voters Double City's Record

November 8, 2011, 5:05 PM by Brady Mallory

Absentee Voters Double City's Record
SIOUX FALLS, SD - The numbers kept climbing as more precincts reported to Sioux Falls Interim City Clerk Sue Roust and her staff.  Getting a jump on Tuesday's voter turnout, 5,500 people voted absentee.

"We've got some good turnout here. First Evangelical already has 536 voters!" Roust said early on election day.

It not only shatters the old record, it nearly doubles it.  Roust said there is a high level of interest in the deciding election for a Sioux Falls events center. Though she is surprised with such a big number, Roust noticed a trend.

"People are getting more and more used to absentee voting and are using it for the convenience of it. Seems like every election we have a higher percentage of people thinking, ' Oh, I might as well get it done before election day,'" Roust said.

By the end of the day, Roust did not expect the totals to vary from about 5,500.  She said most absentee ballots come in days prior to the election, and what does come in on election day is a very small amount.  As for the voters themselves, the county auditor said there has been some variation in the demographics.

"Early on we had a lot of snowbirds that were getting ready to go out of town, a lot of retirees, the occasional younger person," Minnehaha County Audito Bob Litz said.

As the election has ramped up, Litz noticed younger absentee voters added to the mix.  College kids and young professionals are breaking up the usual absentee demographic that consists of older voters.  

"There's an energy about it, you bet. I feel that when people come through the door. They want their votes cast and they want them counted," Litz said.

As for Roust's energy she was hoping for plenty.  Counting the absentee ballots is the easy part on election day, but at noon on election day, her was just beginning.

"We'll be going until probably after nine tonight, so, yeah, there's been a few sugar highs already," Roust said.

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