UPDATED 4:15 p.m.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Lincoln County auditor Sheri Lund sent KELOLAND News an “order to vacate” signed by Circuit Judge John Pekas. The file date says Friday, September 2, 2022.
Lund said the order vacates the order “requiring preservation of records” issued on Thursday, September 1, 2022. You can view that order here.
Lund said Lincoln County will not be destroying election material related to the November 3, 2020 election but couldn’t speak for other counties.
She said there is still pending litigation and deferred any other comments to the Lincoln County State’s Attorney Office.
The September 2 order to vacate was made by the same judge who on Thursday, September 1, ordered county auditors to preserve 2020 election material.
A circuit court judge ordered on September 1 that every South Dakota county auditor to preserve election material from the 2020 Presidential election.
Pekas’ order states “each county auditor in the state shall now and hereafter preserve the machine logs from the automatic tabulation machines.”
The judge’s order comes in a case against the Lincoln County Auditor’s Office. The plaintiff is called WE THE PEOPLE for FREE, FAIR and TRANSPARENT ELECTIONS, LLC. You can view the order here.
The ruling came two days before September 3, 2022. That date is exactly 22 months since the November 3, 2020 election. State law says officers in charge of an election may “destroy voted ballots, poll books and all other election material relating to a federal election twenty-two months after the election at which the ballots were voted.”
Lund told KELOLAND News on Monday that she and the Charles Mix County auditor, former S.D. Secretary of State Jason Gant, planned to hold an open house forum with state lawmakers.
In response, the South Dakota Freedom Caucus said it would hold a public informational meeting at the state Capitol county auditors could join remotely.
Hand County Auditor Doug DeBoer told KELOLAND News he’s happy lawmakers are getting involved with the questions from the South Dakota Canvassing Group. According to that group’s website, it started looking into election issues after Mike Lindell’s Cyber Symposium was held in Sioux Falls in August 2021.
DeBoer said he’s spent 111 hours responding to different FOIA requests, which he said are mostly phrased the same with different names.
DeBoer said the South Dakota Canvassing Group wants the digital “Cast Vote Records,” also known as CVRs. He said for the ballot counting machines in Hand County, the CVRs are printed on a tape. For bigger counties, he said the CVRs are digitally recorded and the South Dakota Office of Hearings ruled the digital CVRs are “proprietary information.”
Pekas’ original order said each county auditor shall now preserve “the Cast Vote Records of the ballots counted, including any and all electronic or data storage drive(s) that such information has been or is stored on, for the November 3, 2020, election and after through the conclusion of this proceeding and any potential appeal thereof.”