Legislative Audit Seeks Answers From Current, Former Secretary Of State

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Questions are swirling after an audit showed more than $43,000 are missing from the Secretary of State Office.

Previous Story: Audit Turns Up More Problems For Former Secretary Of State

Former Secretary of State Jason Gant and current Secretary of State Shantel Krebs went in front of a committee in Pierre Friday in an effort to answer some of those questions.

It’s estimated that it’s going to take around $100,000 to fix all the issues at the Secretary of State’s office. While this is a lofty sum, the office is taking steps to make sure the issues don’t happen again.

For more than an hour, the audit of the Secretary of State’s office finances under the supervision of Jason Gant was in the spotlight.

One of the most talked about subjects was the 3 missing ipads minis. Those tablets were used as part of the Federal Assistance Voting Grant, which let service members overseas receive an electronic ballot. The office purchased 85 ipads with use of the $668,000 grant. Only 27 service members used the program, but Gant says it’s viable. 

“I know 27 doesn’t sound like a wonderful number, but it was a program that 27 individuals took advantage of, which I would much rather have 27 individuals vote than have 27 individuals get frustrated with sending mail back and forth and not vote,” Gant said.

Shantel Krebs says it’s hard to understand the office’s budget right now because there’s no clear path on where all the funds will be going. One issue is the large number of prepaid accounts going through the office that haven’t been used for years.

“The challenge I think was that paid account, or these pre-paid accounts, were all into one. They should have been separated out. There was no clear, that’s a pre-paid account, that should not be mixed in with your total cash summary in your bank,” Krebs said.

Gant says despite all the issues left behind when he left office, he thought a lot was accomplished during his tenure.

“The successes were many, unfortunately I made mistakes along the way too. I should have been more hands on with accounting to make sure those accounting errors were not made and that more detail policies were put in place,” Gant said.

Krebs says the office will have at least two people sign any check or voucher that comes through the office. It’s just one of the few things her office will be doing differently.

“What we’re doing at the end of the day, each employee closes out their balance of transaction. The number of transactions equating to the dollar amount,” Krebs said.

An office trying to figure out the best way to move forward.

This won’t be the last audit the Secretary of State’s Office will deal with. Next year, Krebs expects the office to receive an audit from the Election Assistance Commission.

That commission provided South Dakota with federal funding for the Help America Vote Act in 2003.

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