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Three South Dakota Counties Test Vote Centers

June 5, 2012, 5:15 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Three South Dakota Counties Test Vote Centers

Voters in three South Dakota counties experienced a newer kind of voting for the primary election.

The idea of vote centers is to make casting a ballot more convenient. Voters can stop in at any poling place in the county. A worker will scan their driver's license and give them the right ballot.

"It's been going very, very well," Karen Doerr said.

Doerr is auditor of Potter County, which is one of three trying out the new system during this primary election. Sully and Hyde counties are the others.

In Gettysburg, workers were pleased with the system.  They said voters from out of town had been stopping in.

"They are from Hoven and they were working in town and heard that they could come and vote," Stacy Larson said.

A representative of the Secretary of State's office visited the polling places throughout the day. By afternoon, none of the counties reported glitches in the system. And some were putting it to the test throughout the morning.

The electronic system keeps track of who's voted so you can't cast a ballot at one location, drive across the county and vote again.

"I was in Hoven this morning," Doerr said. "And when the polls opened up, I went and voted and then I came down here to Gettysburg to try to vote again. And they scanned my driver's license and it came up saying I had already voted."

A state representative from the area had already voted absentee and tested the system Tuesday. It wouldn't let him vote again either.

After its first run, Doerr says she hopes this vote center format sticks around Potter County and can see other places moving in this direction as well.

In addition to being convenient, auditors in all three counties were able to save money by cutting back on polling places, poll workers or both.

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