Absentee Voting Period Could Be Rolled Back


It’s not election season, but there’s a political firestorm brewing in Pierre over Absentee voting and some say it’s not right. 

The House State Affairs Committee voted along party lines 11-2 to cut the absentee voting period in South Dakota. 

Right now voters can start voting absentee 46 days prior to an election, but House Bill 11-78 would shorten that time period by not allowing citizens to start casting their ballots until first day of October. 

Supporters of HB 1178 say the absentee voting time period needs to be shorter, because voters who cast their ballots early, sometimes get voter remorse after they get additional information about candidates or issues. 

But voters we talked with disagree. 

“No I don’t think I like it, the more time you have to be able to vote the better off more people would be involved in the voting process,”  Mary Ogden said

“Bad idea, why?  I know for me personally it might too short of time for me to be able to get down here to do the absentee voting,” Robert said. 

“It’s completely unnecessary,”

Heather Smith is the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. 

“People should be able to exercise their right to vote and this is just rolling back those protections we already have,” Smith said. 

Smith also says it would unnecessarily burden county auditors, who have to train workers and get voting machines ready to prepare for an election. 

“It’s not like they have a ton of time between when absentee ballots go out to people and when they have to be returned so they can count them,” Smith said. 

KELOLAND News reached out to the bill’s primary sponsor for comment, but haven’t heard back yet.

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