Testing is under way for S.D. elections system before state board meets next week

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota Division of Elections staff have been busy this week, checking accuracy of voting machines and tabulators ahead of the 2020 elections.

The data will be presented next week to the state Board of Elections. The board members will decide October 30 whether to certify each model.

One of the people helping Tuesday was Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz. He showed how to operate an ExpressVote machine designed for people with disabilities.

“It’s a fast, nimble machine,” Litz said.

State elections director Kea Warne said county auditors often assist during testing. Secretary of State Steve Barnett explained the testing process.

“This was already certified at the federal level. Now we’re certifying at the state level, so we’re making sure the tabulating machines for the 2020 elections are up and running correctly, along with the ballot-marking devices as well,” Barnett said.

Thirty counties purchased new equipment in 2018, according to Barnett. “So now the remaining 36 counties are getting new equipment for the 2020 elections, so all 66 counties will have updated equipment, with updated firmware and software for the 2020 elections,” he said.

“South Dakota elections fortunately are very secure. We have paper ballots, so none of the machines are connected to the internet or wi-fi internet connection, so that is one advantage we do have here in South Dakota,” Barnett said.

He said the Secretary of State office is establishing sites with Facebook and Twitter that can be used to distribute word about misinformation.

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