SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Voters in Minnehaha County have a new outdoor, round-the-clock option to drop off their absentee ballots. On Thursday, the auditor’s office installed two drop boxes in downtown Sioux Falls: one in the parking lot of the Minnehaha County Administration Building and another outside the Election Center located next door. It didn’t take long for the yellow envelopes to start sliding through the slots once the drop boxes were activated.
Bolts before votes. A worker drills down into the concrete to firmly anchor this stainless steel drop box outside the Election Center in downtown Sioux Falls. This tamper-proof receptacle, a little smaller than a refrigerator, will collect absentee ballots, day or night, through Election Day.
“There’s a top and bottom lock on it and the slot that you put your ballots into, it’s very narrow and it’s not going to allow for pop cans or other things to go down in there,” Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz said.
Kim Bowman of Dell Rapids is the first Minnehaha County voter to place her absentee ballot inside the new drop box.
“It feels good. Yep. I didn’t know I would be, I thought there’d be a lot more by now,” Bowman said.
Bowman says sizing up the drop-box gives her confidence that her vote is safe inside.
“I think it looks secure. I was really impressed. I was picturing, I don’t know what I was picturing, but it wasn’t a metal box, so this is great,” Bowman said.
The drop boxes can hold hundreds of ballots at a time. Litz will empty the bin inside every day.
“I’m going to empty them on a daily basis and maybe more on the weekends. But it’s a safe thing, being able to lock your ballot up in this box,” Litz said.
Each drop box costs $4,000. Litz says it’s a worthwhile investment for the county to ensure that each absentee ballot is securely dropped-off.
The drop boxes are also lit at night and there are security cameras nearby.
You can also drop-off your ballots, and vote in-person, inside the Election Center during business hours Mondays through Fridays.