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Minnehaha Co. Could See New Way Of Voting

December 4, 2012, 6:00 PM by Stephanie Gregory

Minnehaha Co. Could See New Way Of Voting

Voting could change in Minnehaha County.  Tuesday, County Commissioners looked at using electronic poll books for future elections. Commissioner Jeff Barth went to Yankton to see how e-poll books worked this last election. Barth says he was wary at first, but is now more confident in the new polling system and thinks it is something the county should pursue.   

"They have fewer precincts, less costs.  The lines moved quickly.  There were a couple of glitchy things, which you might expect," County Commissioner Jeff Barth said. 

In the November election, Minnehaha County decided to use paper ballots, however that could soon change.

Both County Auditor Bob Litz and Barth say they want to solely rely on e-polling books by 2014.

"I've been a proponent of them ever since I've seen them used by the school and city," Litz said. 

E-poll books aren't that new; the city of Sioux Falls and the school district have used this type of ballot counting in their last election.

Litz says the Auditor's office has been using one type of e-polling for years.

"As long as we've been doing absentee voting in this, we've been working that with an e-poll book too," Litz said. 

"It worked very, very efficiently to get people through and honestly, it reduces the possibility of people voting twice," Barth said.

Back in 2002, the federal government passed the Help America Vote Act. This federal mandate has provided funding to improve standards of voting systems, but when the e-polling books need to be updated, the cost goes to the county.

"They become a fixed assist, which after the lifecycle of these things, the county will have to replace them at sometime," Litz said.

Litz says the life cycle of an e-polling book is approximately 10 to 12 years. He also says the money saved by reducing the expenses that come with voting should pay for the county's future expenses.

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