Minnehaha County bracing for what could be a record number of absentee ballots

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Minnehaha County is bracing for what could be a record number of absentee ballots in the upcoming general election.

Minnehaha County auditor Bob Litz is going to go ahead with his idea of buying drop boxes for absentee ballots, but on a much smaller scale.

Originally Bob Litz wanted to buy 15 patriotic designed drop boxes to place throughout the county and city to make it more convenient for voters.

But Tuesday he told Minnehaha County commissioners, the city shot him down and wouldn’t allow him to place them at libraries, because of security and legal issues.

“We really never got off the ground on it, it was very frustrating to me that we weren’t even going to have this conversation, sure we can put those boxes in in two years, but this is the election that’s going to matter on,” Litz said.

Now Litz is only going to buy two drop boxes and place them on the county administration campus, because the last election a lot of voters just dropped off their absentee ballots through two slots; one at the county administration building and another at the election headquarters.

“I couldn’t get the door open on a number of times in that last week of the election, because we got 44% of our mail-in ballots, people didn’t put them in the mail, they’d bring them down and put them in the mail drop,” Litz said.

And that made him nervous. Drop boxes, he says, will be more secure.

“I think it’s a bad optic when somebody comes up to the door of an old building with glass that thick and puts it in the slot and you can look in and see the ballots all the way across the floor,” Litz said.

Absentee voting starts September 18th and Litz is encouraging voters who vote absentee to get them in early to avoid what happened last June when final results weren’t tabulated well into the next day.

“If I have that big flow at the end of the election this time with the way state laws are it’s going to be the same result we will be counting ballots for two days,” Litz said.

Litz says he’ll need roughly 500 volunteers at polling places on election day he’s also hiring additional workers to fill 20 positions to help with the absentee ballots this election cycle.

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