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Officials Will Iron Out Vote Center Issues

April 11, 2012, 5:59 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Officials Will  Iron Out Vote Center Issues

There were some issues in Sioux Falls Tuesday with the new vote centers.

They allowed citizens to vote at any location, but some places ran out of ballots and a few of the popular voting spots had long lines.

While the vote centers experienced a few bumps in the road Tuesday, election officials still see the concept as the future of voting in South Dakota and believe any issues can be fixed.

"We knew this was going to be an issue and that's why we had runners set up to bring ballots to different locations," South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant said. 

Officials say they ran out of ballots at some locations because it was hard to predict where people would be voting.

"We found with the ballot allocation that we needed more of a certain type of ballot at Lincoln High than we needed at Primrose, so we were doing a little ballot reallocation throughout the day," Sioux Falls City Clerk Lorie Hogstad said.

Hogstad met with the Secretary of State and other election officials Wednesday to talk about how to improve the system. Next time, they plan to have more workers monitoring the ballots and bring more to a certain vote center when they reach a minimum threshold.

"We have to be more focused on increasing the number of ballots that we have available at all locations and once we hit a minimum level, then that's where the runners would have to automatically go out and replenish their ballots," Gant said.

And despite some of the problems, Gant says vote centers will continue to be used in South Dakota. He believes when all the issues are ironed out, the concept will have more advantages than disadvantages.

"I think vote centers and electronic poll books are going to be the wave of our elections over the next five, six, ten years and I think we're showing today that the election we just had was overall a great success and we'll continue to build upon that success," Gant said.

Gant says vote centers will be used in Hyde, Sully and Potter Counties in the June primary.

Minnehaha County will likely make a decision by the end of the week if they will also use vote centers in the primary.

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