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:
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.