Press "Enter" to skip to content

Litz Plans Election Night Rest for Workers, Two-Day Count

You’re no good to me tired,” Prime Minister Churchill says to his (fictional) secretary Venetia Scott in The Crown. Minnehaha County auditor Bob Litz is looking ahead to a busy Election Night and saying to his staff, “You’re no good to democracy tired.” Instead of planning for an all-nighter, Litz plans to send his staff home for a good night’s sleep before turning to the mountain of absentee ballots on Wednesday, November 4:

Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz has been crunching the numbers and says there’s no way his office can complete counting all the ballots in one night on Election Day.

“It just ain’t gonna happen. The math is just not there,” Litz said.

Instead, Litz plans a repeat of the June primary, and send workers home for the night and resume counting the following day.

“We are going to process the ballots that come in from the precincts on Election Day that night. Everybody’s going to go home, take a break, and come back and attack the absentees,” Litz said [Perry Groten, “Minnehaha County Auditor Plans to Give Workers a Break During Election Night,” KELO-TV, 2020.10.15].

And if you don’t like Litz again spoiling your Election Night victory parties? Litz says he’s ready to take your guff and your volunteer help:

“Of course we will. But you know what? C’mon down. I’ll put you to work and you can have a good dose of reality as to what’s going on down here,” Litz said [Groten, 2020.10.15].

Minnehaha County had received 14,282 early ballots by October 6. As of Tuesday, October 13, auditors statewide had received 103,061 early ballots. The final count of early ballots submitted statewide in 2016 was 106,000, 28% of turnout.

October 13 was the 25th day in our 45-day early-voting window, the 55% mark. If the same number of ballots come in during the remaining early-voting time, the state will have 206,000 early ballots to count, which would 56% of the total votes cast in South Dakota’s 2016 general election. Minnehaha County made up about 21% of the 2016 electorate, so a comparable proportion of the vote in 2020, assuming similar turnout, would put over 43,000 early ballots in Litz’s mailbags to count on Wednesday morning.

Rest up, poll workers, and get a good breakfast. Democracy depends on your bright eyes and bushy tails.


  1. Donald Pay 2020-10-16 09:36

    In Madison, WI, there are usually enough staff at each polling place to do three things: register new voters at the polls, clerk the election day vote process and process the absentee ballots. This is an unusual year, however, which will have nearly half the vote as absentee. I’m not sure how they are going to get it all done on election day.

  2. Buckobear 2020-10-16 11:28

    Seems that we have become so used to the media wanting to be first to “call” an election that we will sacrifice accuracy for whatever.
    Good call Mr. Litz.

  3. mike from iowa 2020-10-16 11:50

    So why haven’t wingnut lawyers swooped in with lawsuits demand counts on election day only? They have been do that all across the nation and at the fed level. iowa soopreme court agreed with wingnuts to limit absentee ballots.

  4. John Matthius 2020-10-16 21:07

    Bob Litz has endured his share of flack over past election tabulations. I’m glad to hear him challenge the critics to help and get an “up close an personal” dose of reality. Election administration in the digital age is a monumental task, with more than its share of well made traps.

  5. Debbo 2020-10-16 22:09

    Mike, I read that there is a “flood” of election related lawsuits drowning the courts at this time. It might have been the Strib where I saw the word “flood” used.

Comments are closed.