Two election rules put on hold, so S.D. auditors can brainstorm on absentee-ballot postage

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Pierre Capitol building legislature

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Board of Elections decided Wednesday to delay action on proposed changes that were intended to help voters know the estimated postage costs for mailing their completed absentee ballots to their county auditors.

The two rules wouldn’t have taken effect until the 2021-2022 election cycle. The board’s chairman, Secretary of State Steve Barnett, suggested putting the matter on hold so he can gather more information from auditors, who are in charge of elections in their respective counties.

“They see it first hand,” Barnett said.

The board approved a long list of other changes that go next to the Legislature’s Rules Review Committee for final clearance.

The postage changes came up in part because tens of thousands more voters used absentee ballots in South Dakota’s June primary elections amid the threat of COVID-19.

“Our office received a lot of email from voters asking how much it would cost to have their ballots sent back to you guys,” state elections-division director Kea Warne said. 

She said prices could vary depending on the size of the ballot and the length of ballot. 

“What happens if it arrives postage due?” board member Linda Lea Viken of Rapid City asked. 

“Our office pays postage due,” replied another board member, Grant County Auditor Karen Layher. 

Barnett said the postage seemed most often to be $1.10 or $1.20 during the June primary.

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