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Minnehaha County Considers Voting Centers

May 1, 2012, 10:00 PM by Don Jorgensen

Minnehaha County Considers Voting Centers
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Just like the city and school board did in their last election, Minnehaha County is now looking at using voting centers and electronic polling books for this year's general election.

As you recall, there were some minor snafus at a few of the polling places, but the county auditor says those problems are being addressed.

Many feel e-polling books and voting centers are the way of the future when it comes to holding elections because they are designed to save time and money.

Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz asked county commissioners to support him as he moves in that direction.

"The great savings will be in the number of buildings we have to lease or pay rent to and the number of people we'll have to pay to go manage those voting places inside these buildings," Litz said.

Litz says instead of the usual 75 precincts, there would only be 33 to 35 voting centers, but commissioners had concerns.

"I still think the most important part of the election process is the consistency of locations.  We've heard about that in previous issues, like Lincoln High School that was a conflict of activity to say the least," county commissioner Gerald Beninga said.

During the city/school board election last month, voters stood in long lines waiting to vote at Lincoln High School. Litz says that won't happen during the general election.

"We are moving over to IPC for a number of reasons.  One would be the parking and number two, the access of going into the building," Litz said. 

Plus, there were problems with some voting centers running out of ballots. Litz says that won't happen either because new technology allows these machines to print more ballots on site.

Litz wants to buy 200 of the e-poll books that he says will cost less than $400,000. The state will pay for them initially, then the county will reimburse the state using a federal grant. The county will have to give final approval once the contract is written up.

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