Elections panel tells S.D. Secretary of State to ask Legislature for online voter registration

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Legislature could face another request in 2021 to approve online voter registration.

The state Board of Elections directed Secretary of State Steve Barnett and his staff Wednesday to move forward on a proposal.

Barnett tried in the 2020 session. The measure made it through the House of Representatives, with some amendments, but didn’t survive the Senate State Affairs Committee.

41 states and the District of Columbia now have some form of it, according to Jason Lutz. He is deputy secretary of state.

Lutz said the 2021 legislation would be more in-depth than what was attempted and would help address security concerns.

A person would need the last five digits of the person’s Social Security Number as well as a South Dakota-issued driver license or ID card.

“We’re hopeful this (next) year it will make it through,” he said.

One benefit: Addresses could be updated from home or work.

What about tribal IDs, board member Linda Lea Viken of Rapid City asked. Lutz said it’s state registration and therefore state cards would be needed.

Tribal governments have seemed hesitant to give state government access to the tribal systems for verification, Lutz said.

States with the online service are very similar in what they offer voters, Lutz said

“The reality is the younger voter is going to like this,” board member Rick Knobe of Baltic said.

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