SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Lincoln County voters, who live in Sioux Falls, will be able to save themselves a trip to Canton to drop off their absentee ballots. The Lincoln County auditor’s office will be setting up a once-a-week drop-box in Sioux Falls later this month.
The drop-off will be located in the parking lot of Faith Baptist Fellowship at 57th and Minnesota, right along Lincoln County’s northern border. Lincoln County voters can drop off their absentee ballots from 3-7 p.m. Wednesdays, starting September 30th.
More than 8,400 absentee ballots cast in Lincoln County are ready to go in the mail Friday during the first day of early voting in South Dakota. Some of them will end up in a drop-box in front of the Lincoln County Courthouse. But for the first time, the auditor’s office is reaching beyond the county seat to set up a drop-off site in Sioux Falls. It’s a service that Lincoln County voters have been requesting.
“We’ve had a lot of questions and concerns, because they’re concerned about them going through the mail and they don’t like the idea of driving from Sioux Falls to Canton, so we thought this was a fair option for everybody,” Lincoln County Deputy Auditor Sheri Lund said.
The auditor’s office says Faith Baptist Fellowship’s central location makes it an ideal spot for a ballot drop box. A Lincoln County sheriff’s deputy will be present at all times to give voters piece of mind when they drop off their ballots.
“He’s in a marked car, he’s got marked clothes on, so that you know he’s with Lincoln County, he’ll have them in a locked ballot box, the ballot box is canvas, but it will be locked, so he can’t tamper with them,” Lincoln County Auditor Marlene Sweeter said.
Starting next month, Faith Baptist will resume some of its Wednesday night children’s activities that were put on hold because of the coronavirus. So a drop box in the middle of church night could make the parking lot a very busy place.
“We’re willing to see what happens and we want to serve people, we want to serve the community, and this is another way for us to do that,” Faith Baptist Fellowship Senior Pastor Dana Olson said.
Faith Baptist is already an Election Day polling place, so its new role as an absentee ballot drop off site is expected to be a smooth and secure transition.
Lincoln County voters will be receiving a pink flier with their ballots containing instructions on how to vote absentee, as well as information about the drop-off sites in Canton and Sioux Falls.