Absentee ballot drop boxes proposed to speed up results in Minnehaha County

Local News

Minnehaha County is looking to make some changes for the upcoming presidential election that the auditor believes will make counting ballots a lot easier and faster.

Following last June’s election that saw a record number of mail-in ballots, the Minnehaha County auditor began exploring different ways to count absentee ballots faster in anticipation of a big turnout this November.

Tuesday Bob Litz met with county commissioners to let them know about his latest idea.

Red, white and blue, patriotic designed drop boxes could help speed up election results in Minnehaha County when it comes to counting absentee ballots, according to county auditor Bob Litz.

“The last time we had absentee ballots, over 40% of those ballots came the last week and I’m hoping this will alleviate some of that buildup right before the election,” Litz said.

Final results from June, didn’t come out until Wednesday night, a full day after the polls had closed.

Litz says even the extra staffing he had in place and the long hours they put in ahead of the election weren’t enough to keep up with the late surge in absentee ballots.

Litz says he has funding available to buy and place 15 of these drop boxes at different locations in Sioux Falls and other towns in the county; mostly at public libraries.

Right now he projects he’ll be mailing out well over 21,000 absentee ballots in September. He feels the drop boxes will make it more convenient for voters to get their absentee ballots in much sooner.

“If I don’t figure out some way of evening out that flow of ballots coming back in here, I’m going to have the same issues I had last time,” Litz said.

“It is an issue that bears some thought,” county commission chairwoman Jean Bender said.

“I realize this is a little bit awkward, it almost seems like I’m putting the cart ahead of the horse; however I’m dealing with a deadline on these, I’ve got to get an order in soon in order for us to get them by the first part of October,” Litz said.

The county didn’t take any action on Litz’s idea. Commissioners will vote on it at next week’s county meeting.

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