At the Rapid City Public Library, polling place manager Chuck Parkinson got an unexpected visit from the county tech staff.
“Being closest to the courthouse the tech staff got here first, and we had no real issues whatsoever. It really didn’t impact a single voter for us,” Parkinson said.
While things were OK at the library, that wasn’t the case at other Pennington County locations. County Auditor Julie Pearson was busy fielding calls and learning that other counties around the state were having the same problems with the computer poll books.
“Since our electronic ones were slowing down and shutting themselves off,” Pearson said.
When the extent of the problem became apparent, county auditors from around the state got on the phone with the Secretary of State’s office, and a decision was made to go back to the old paper poll books.
In addition, some polling places were instructed to stay open longer than normally scheduled. In Pennington County, that means some polling places will remain open until 8:45 p.m. MDT, or 9:45 p.m. CDT. Pearson says it’s the law.
“Will some voters be upset? Yes, they more than likely are, but we followed the law, for what we can do, and are still giving them the 12 hours to vote,” Pearson said. “So the extended hours are to make up for the time that they couldn’t vote prior to seven o’clock.”