PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Senate expanded the list of changes that people could make to their voter registration information through an online system Tuesday.
But the latest version of SB 24 still would specifically prohibit people from using the online system for registering in the first place.
Senators adopted another amendment Tuesday that Secretary of State Steve Barnett sought, then voted 21-13 to send it across the rotunda to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The state Board of Elections originally wanted an online system. Barnett chairs the board.
But the Senate State Affairs Committee decided to strictly limit the online system’s use and allow only address changes by registered voters.
Senator Jim Bolin, a Canton Republican, put the limit on at the committee hearing. On Tuesday, he offered the amendment for Barnett.
It would allow the online system to be used for changes to last names, mailing and residential addresses, phone numbers, emails, previous registration information, party affiliations and willingness to be election workers.
“The amendment doesn’t change the heart of the bill,” Bolin said.
Senator Reynold Nesiba, a Sioux Falls Democrat, tried to restore the legislation to its original form so people could initially register online. He said it would increase security and eliminate errors.
“This is common sense,” Nesiba said.
Senator Lee Schoenbeck, a Watertown Republican, warned that restoring the bill would kill it, either in the Senate or after it reached the House.
But Senate Democrat leader Troy Heinert of Mission said the risk was worth it. Heinert said people in his community have to travel 80 miles to Winner to register in person.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Heinert said. “If they kill it over there, that’s on them.”
Senators voted 26-8 against the Nesiba amendment.