There’s been a dramatic increase in the numbers of early voters in Pennington County.  Voters have now had 19 days to cast early ballots, and the Pennington County Auditor’s Office says voters have been taking advantage of the opportunity in greater numbers than similar elections.   

Pennington County Auditor Cindy Mohler says she and her staff have been busier than they usually are in an off-year election.  

“We had over 250 people at the window yesterday, so, the numbers are up. It’s keeping us very busy,” said Cindy Mohler, the Pennington County Auditor.

She says, in the 19 days early voting has been in effect this election, 2,668 voters have cast their ballots. And that’s not counting the people who voted Wednesday. 

The Auditor’s Office says even on a cold and snowy day like Wednesday, at the end of it, about 200 
people will have cast their ballots.  

At this point in the 2014 election, about 1,600 people had voted.  It means that nearly twice as many have already voted in this one.  

“Compared to the primary and to the last gubernatorial, we’re seeing quite an increase,” said Mohler.

One thing that seems to be happening is that voters are discovering voting early is much easier than
standing in long lines on Election Day.  

“It’s convenient.  It’s fast.  I don’t have to wait in line. I’m just here on the my lunch hour and I’m happy to do my civic duty and got it done in less than 15 minutes,” said “Chris” a Pennington County voter.

“It’s convenient, and you can pretty much easily come in. Plenty of parking available,” said Jay Schulz, another Pennington County voter.

Mohler says another factor is the unusual and contentious political environment surrounding this election. 

“I don’t know if people are just getting more informed. If, because of some of the political things they are
hearing about on the news, if it’s leading them to want to get out and make a change.  And hopefully they realize that that’s the way they can do it: by getting out and voting,” she said. 

Early voting is available in all counties in South Dakota until November 6.  Be sure to bring your photo
ID with you when you stop to vote at your county auditor’s office.