SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — One week into absentee voting in South Dakota, and, as of Friday morning, more than 2,200 people had already cast ballots in Minnehaha County. Thursday’s numbers more than doubled from the day before as the first wave of mail-in and drop-off ballots arrived at the auditor’s office.
Voters dropping off their ballots at the Election Center in downtown Sioux Falls often outnumbered the people voting in-person.
“Just to get it over with. There’s so much controversy over voting, we got our ballots, I filled them out, we signed them and I’m handing them in,” Jack Hedstrom of Sioux Falls said.
Some voters dropping off their ballots, concerned about the pandemic, didn’t want to risk standing in line to vote in-person.
“Because I’m a senior, first of all. And second of all, I didn’t want the crowds, so I’m trying to take every precaution possible,” Carolyn Baker of Sioux Falls said.
Others dropping off their ballots say they don’t trust the post office to deliver their ballot on time.
“I’ve heard some stories about mail getting lost or things happen to it, I don’t want that happen to mine,” Bonnie Siewert of Sioux Falls said.
Once the ballots are dropped-off or arrive in the mail, the auditor’s office begins processing them so they’re ready to be counted on Election Day.
“There’s a picture of an ID and then there’s the original application, so we take those and attach those to the ballots and make sure that ballot is that person,” Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz said.
Auditor Bob Litz says he’s glad so many voters are getting their ballots in early, well ahead of the expected crunch in the days leading up to the election. Meanwhile voting early provides peace of mind to the people turning-in their yellow envelopes.
“Everybody needs to get out and early and get it done, if they can,” Baker said.
The Election Center, across the street from the Minnehaha County Administration Center, is open Mondays through Friday for in-person voting, as well as a drop-off site for absentee ballots.