Representative Drew Dennert (R-3/Aberdeen) isn’t just trying to suppress absentee voting; he’s also trying to oppress our poor election workers.
Facing a surge of absentee ballots in the general election, Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz wisely planned ahead to count some ballots on Election Night, then allow his workers to go home, get some rest, and come back fresh to count the rest of the vote on Wednesday.
Why my Representative wouldn’t like that, I have no idea. But Rep. Dennert has proposed House Bill 1125, which would prohibit official vote counters from leaving the site of the count until the count is completed. HB 1125 would allow the person in charge of the vote count to grant only “short recesses for the health and wellbeing of those employed” to count ballots.
Drew dabbles here in unnecessary micromanagement. Auditor Litz’s rest break and two-day count resulted in no fraud or lost ballots. It probably produced a more reliable count, since workers weren’t running on pizza and Bang and squinting at ballots at 4 a.m. Slow and steady is far better for determining who wins the race than any mandate from Pierre chaining the galley slaves to their oars. If anything, the state should take a greater interest, as Litz did, in protecting poll workers from unhealthy working conditions that would result in poorer work.
Maybe Representative Dennert figures HB 1125 works hand-in-hand with his HB 1126: prevent any surge in absentee voting by reducing applications, keep voter turnout lower, and thus alleviate the need for election workers to count overnight!