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Litz Proposes More Ballot Dropboxes; TenHaken Trembles at Thought of Helping Voters

Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz, who knows a thing or two about slow ballot counts, is trying to get a jump on the predicted surge in absentee ballots in the general election by proposing additional drop boxes around the county:

Red, white and blue, patriotic designed drop boxes could help speed up election results in Minnehaha County when it comes to counting absentee ballots, according to county auditor Bob Litz.

…Litz says he has funding available to buy and place 15 of these drop boxes at different locations in Sioux Falls and other towns in the county; mostly at public libraries.

Right now he projects he’ll be mailing out well over 21,000 absentee ballots in September. He feels the drop boxes will make it more convenient for voters to get their absentee ballots in much sooner.

“If I don’t figure out some way of evening out that flow of ballots coming back in here, I’m going to have the same issues I had last time,” Litz said [Don Jorgensen, “Absentee Ballot Drop Boxes Proposed to Speed up Results in Minnehaha County,” KELO-TV, 2020.08.18].

I’m not sure drop boxes will make counting on Election Night go any faster (and, hold on: is speed really necessary? isn’t getting the results right more important than getting the results fast?), but giving voters more places to turn in their ballots makes voting more convenient and reduces the crowds who could spread coronavirus.

Alas, Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken doesn’t want to help make voting easier and safer:

Mayor Paul TenHaken, anti-dropbox tweets, 2020.08.21.
Mayor Paul TenHaken, anti-dropbox tweets, 2020.08.21.

Seriously? A county official offers a plan to make the election run better. City officials could sit down with that county official, work out details, and work together to make democracy work better. Instead of crying about “unprecedented responsibility” (unprecedented? come on—the city runs elections all the time), Mayor TenHaken should be jumping at the opportunity to help democracy in a time of crisis. If the City of Sioux Falls can deploy firefighters to combat wildfires in Colorado, it can surely deploy a few additional librarians and assistant city clerks to help secure ballot drop boxes at public libraries in Sioux Falls.

18 Comments

  1. Donald Pay 2020-08-24

    Using libraries for early voting and early drop off has become standard practice where I live. We have branch libraries spread conveniently around the county.

    I prefer to vote in person on election day, but the Trump pandemic required we make some changes. We’ve used the mail, not libraries, to vote, but now Trump is ruining that option. Our mail gets sent to Milwaukee to sort, but that is a spot where Trump’s postal minion took out some sorting capacity.

    So, yeah, we are probably going to use the drop boxes this time.

  2. mike from iowa 2020-08-24

    Should be asking wingnuts what they have against facilitating and encouraging more voters and most of all, why do they hate democracy so much they are tearing it down in states and nationwide.

    Mr Pay, OT to be sure, is Kenosha burning up with protests today?

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-08-24

    Donald, which level of local government runs those library drop boxes?

  4. Eve Fisher 2020-08-24

    I just sent TenHaken this email:
    I saw that you’ve refused the county auditor’s fully-funded request for more absentee voting drop-boxes for the Nov. election at libraries. Please reconsider. We the people of Sioux Falls need safe access to voting in this pandemic! Consider the # of cases in Sioux Falls; the slowing mail delivery; the possibility of bad weather. Since there are funds and security safeguards, what possible objection could there be to add drop-boxes around the city? And there is plenty of time to do this! Please reconsider now.
    Feel free to copy and share.

  5. Jake 2020-08-24

    Seems to be an easy solution to the problem-resisted by the mayor for only partisan reasons. On a national level, I’d favor a 2 day election; preferably over a weekend to cast and count ballots.

  6. Donald Pay 2020-08-24

    Cory, the libraries are under the cities, but the County controls the drop boxes. Our libraries have long been involved in registering voters as part of their duties, and facilitate county efforts for early voting stations.

  7. Debbo 2020-08-24

    I haven’t heard anything about drop boxes in Minnesota yet, but I’m sure I will.

  8. Scott Ehrisman 2020-08-24

    Actually, Bob is in charge of this election in Minnehaha County (which the city sits in) He is in charge of the ballots also. The city clerk, mayor or city attorney have ZERO jurisdiction over the way the election is run. And the county helps fund the libraries, that is why they are called the ‘Siouxland Libraries’ and Not Sioux Falls. Technically, Bob could put the boxes there without Mayor Stoneless’ stamp of approval. I would love to see Paul have them removed. I guess in an email today to councilors (which I have not seen yet) the mayor said NO to the idea because he is mad at Bob for ‘telling’ him instead of ‘asking’ him. While that may be a stumble by Bob, I would highly suggest the toddler running Sioux Falls gets the F’ over it and proceed with the plan.

  9. Scott 2020-08-24

    Look what the last 4 years of Trump have done to this country. He has divided us so much that people can not put aside the politics to help people vote during a pandemic. Elected city and county officials should be helping the public, not promoting their political views.

    What better reason to get rid of Trump then to stop this constant fighting we have seen since Trump became president.

  10. grudznick 2020-08-24

    Mr. E, it is indeed good to read your bloggings once again. I hope all is well with you, young sir.

  11. leslie 2020-08-24

    Rachel Maddow talks to MT Sen Tester, initial MT whistle blower, a national Postal Union authority, airs Trump admissions and Obama remarks: 600+sorting machines disabled/destroyed nationally, 40-60% blue boxes removed in large municipalities in MT alone (higher Democrat voter populations), changed delivery rules, undelivered mail, overtime limited since June installation of unqualified Postmaster.

    All done quietly. Imagine what hundreds of other subterfuges Trump has installed. Anything to avoid prison. Psychiatrist’s say it is like a two year old who can’t get his way.

    Why can’t Republicans propose mature, intelligent candidates? The GOP wants to run things. That means McConnell. Thune. McCarthy. Gaetz. Cotton. Moldable mental midgets. Anything to strip America of business regulations. Republicans ca not succeed within a bipartisan system so they are burning it down. If they do not succeed now, they will be a “dead” party. Prison awaits.

    Of course we may well have civilized the justice system by then and they will benefit from societal leniency. The extremist right is truly preparing for war.

    Fossil fuels likewise want to drag out profits a few more decades.

    But Change occurs NOW.

  12. Jake 2020-08-24

    In my humble, working-man opinion Leslie, change IS going to happen whether we or the GOP like it or not. It’s an inevitable truth. The whole truth is right now this year the pendulum is cutting up the GOP on its swing toward truth and compassion, and morality in government! Trump needs an arse-kicking bigger than George McGovern had just to put him in his proper place in history. I am at the moment watching the GOP convention being broadcast in defiance of the federal Hatch Act it appears as the whole week in Washington is scheduled as such. The total defiance of laws and normal presidential protocol alone is deserving of a “No” vote on this batch of criminals.

  13. grudznick 2020-08-24

    Mr. Jake, are you familiar with the “Lincoln Project?” grudznick just wants to know if you have contacts there.

  14. leslie 2020-08-24

    Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has a leadership group who carry out the institutional objectives of the upper chamber as a body, they include: Senator John Thune (whip); Senator John Barrasso (conference chair); Roy Blunt (committee chair); Todd Young (NRSC chair); Jodi Ernst (conference vice-chair); and Chuck Grassley (president pro tempore). None of these senators make a move publicly without approval from Leader McConnell.

    Today (8/7) Senate Whip John Thune rebuked the mail-in ballot concerns expressed by President Trump. Thune does this because ultimately the objectives of the upper chamber are more favorably aligned if President Trump is removed.

    I dont know about this rw source (fwiw(https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2020/08/07/senate-majority-whip-john-thune-positions-to-support-national-mail-in-ballots/

    Kevin McCarthy disavowed Qanon. NE Sen Sasse crossed Trump on mail suppression.

  15. Moses6 2020-08-26

    Where is congressman half dusty on voting against the 25 billion, for the post office.I bet he moved his hands around a little bit, before he voted against to help South Dakota on this.Poor excuse for a congress man.

  16. Moses6 2020-08-26

    Litz did the right thing. If this gets out out of control like it probably will , he can come back and say if the mayor would have helped this would have not happened.Good call by Litz.

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