PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Board of Elections wants to hear from the public in the next few weeks regarding proposed rules for post-election audits that now must be conducted for all 66 counties.

The Legislature during the 2023 session passed the law requiring post-election audits. South Dakota Secretary of State Monae Johnson recently completed a series of meetings that led to the rule proposals. South Dakota was one of the last states in the nation without some form of post-election audit.

The state board will also be considering various other proposed changes regarding proper use of optical scan ballots; how absentee voting shall be conducted at nursing facilities, assisted living centers and hospitals; and security requirements for ballot boxes where absentee voters can deliver their completed ballots.

The complete set of proposed rules can be read here.

The state board will hold a public hearing on September 27 at 9 a.m. CT in room 362 at the Capitol. People can also send written comments by email to elections@state.sd.us or by standard mail to State Board of Elections, 500 E. Capitol Avenue, Pierre, SD, 57501. The board must receive comments no later than September 23 for them to be considered.

One of the Legislature’s requirements that the secretary of state’s advisory group didn’t consider was how to reimburse counties for the cost of conducting the post-election audits. One of the proposed rules addresses that point.

The proposal says, “The county Auditor shall submit Post-Election Audit expenses to the Secretary of State for reimbursement. The Auditor shall use the forms designated by the Secretary of State. Reimbursable expenses for the audit, include but are not limited to: board member pay for conducting the audit and for training prior to the audit (if applicable), supplies, rental costs for the location to conduct the audit in, publication costs, ballot storage costs, travel (mileage), etc.”

State lawmakers decided to require post-election audits by nearly unanimous tallies of 34-0 in the Senate, then 68-0 in the House of Representatives, where it was amended regarding some of the processes. The Senate ultimately agreed 34-1 with the House version, as Republican Senator David Johnson cast the only vote against it.