PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota counties would be required to conduct post-election audits of ballot-counting machines under a plan moving ahead in the Legislature.
State senators voted 34-0 on Monday for SB-160. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives where the lead sponsor is Republican Rep. Drew Peterson.
Republican Sen. David Wheeler said state government will pay counties for the cost of the audits. He said South Dakota is one of the few states where post-election audits aren’t done.
“It’s appropriate for us to do a spot-check, and that’s what this would do,” said Wheeler, the bill’s prime sponsor.
Counties would check the two statewide contests that are closest in outcome each election.
“So people can have confidence the machines are counting correctly,” Wheeler said.
Secretary of State Monae Johnson’s office testified in “soft” opposition during the Senate committee hearing, according to Wheeler. She plans to conduct a study this summer. One of the points she ran on last year was the need for post-election audits.
Senate Republican leader Casey Crabtree, a co-sponsor, said the law needs to be put into effect this session so that it’s in place when the 2024 election year starts. “So if you want to have a post-election audit, which I think most of us do, now will be the time to vote for it,” he said.