SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Minnehaha County wants to make sure all ballots stay safe around-the-clock now that next week’s vote count is expected to take two days. Sheriff’s deputies will be posted overnight outside the buildings where the ballots are housed.
The long lines of people waiting to vote will lead to a long night of processing and counting those ballots for Minnehaha County election workers. So long that it will take election workers two days to finalize the results. So Minnehaha County sheriff’s deputies will provide security in-between shifts when the night crew leaves.
“This one, because of the unprecedented number of absentee ballots and the amount of time it may take to count them, just adds a little bit of a challenge, so we just want to make sure that the buildings on the county campus are secure that evening and during the overnight,” Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead said.
Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz says the enhanced security comes against the backdrop of a highly-charged national political climate.
“The nation seems to be a little restless right now and I just think we have to provide that extra measure this election to keep the, I don’t know what you call it, the anger, or the angst, or whatever tamped down and to keep people from doing stupid things,” Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz said.
Deputies will likely remain on-site until election workers arrive Wednesday morning to finish the counting.
“I don’t have someone normally there. So, certainly, have to adjust some schedules, but we’ll have it covered,” Milstead said.
The long line of people waiting to vote shows a high degree of interest in this year’s election. And, Auditor Litz says the extra security in place will provide assurances that each of their votes will count, come election day.
“Your ballots are secure. They’re safe. They ain’t going anywhere and we’re going to count them,” Litz said.
Deputies have provided security during previous elections, much of it involving making sure election workers safely get to their cars after putting in a long night of counting ballots.