Even though we're still several weeks away from the general election, some people are already casting their ballots, voting absentee. And as we found out, balloting is brisk.
Absentee voting got underway today in Minnehaha County and election officials describe the turnout with one word: busy.
"I've done it ever since they changed the rules where you don't need a specific reason and I have very strong political opinions and I wanted to get my vote in right away," said Terry Larson of Hartford.
Minnehaha County ordered 110,000 ballots this year anticipating a large turnout.
So far they've received 3,000 absentee ballot requests, but election officials expect that number to grow.
"Given the number of phone calls we've received so far I think it's going to be an increase over previous years," said Rich Lietz, assistant county auditor.
There are 7 measures on the South Dakota ballot this year, and one voter we talked with says this is one of the most important elections of his time.
"We're in a financial crisis now, we all own a big insurance company now we didn't know we were going to own and there are a number of things going on now for us to have the right people in play," said R. C. Johnson of Sioux Falls.
Absentee voting can have an impact on the outcome, especially if there's a local race with national interest, such as initiated measure 11, the abortion issue.
Election officials say R-V owners sometimes register in South Dakota to try and sway the vote, like in the 2004 senate race between John Thune and Tom Daschle. And they say it could happen again this year meaning a record number of absentee votes.
If you'd like to vote absentee, just go to your county auditor's office and be sure to bring along a copy of a photo i.d.
If you'd like to see a sample ballot for your presinct, go to the secretary of state's web site.
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