Minnehaha County prepares to process record absentee vote

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Voters in Minnehaha County have already cast a record 24,435 absentee ballots ahead of Tuesday’s election. That’s 6,000 more mail-in votes than were cast during the record turnout of the 2016 presidential election.

Local election leaders want to make sure they’ll have plenty of room to process so many additional ballots.

This large meeting room at the Old Courthouse Museum, with its 22 tables, will provide election workers the space they need to process the record number of absentee ballots.

“All day long, the absentee ballots will be open in this room and then we’ll segregate them, set them on the table in the next room and we’ll start processing them through the tabulation,” Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz said.

The election workers will be doing double-duty, counting votes in the city council-school board election and the state primary. More people are voting absentee because of the pandemic.

“I am floored by the number, but given the circumstances, we’re glad to see it,” Sioux Falls City Clerk Tom Greco said.

The auditor’s office has had a tough time hiring election workers because of the pandemic. So they put out a call to local school districts, and teachers answered that call.

“I’m here to tell you, we would not be having elections today if it was not for teachers stepping up and filling in all these gaps,” Litz said.

Teachers providing a real-life lesson in democracy, as voters do their homework by mailing in their absentee ballots.

The auditors office will be accepting mail-in ballots right up until the polls close on Tuesday.

Right now, more votes have been cast in the municipal races, than in the state primary, but that’s because the city opened absentee voting two weeks earlier.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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