The South Dakota Board of Elections meets on Monday with little apparent nefarious intent. Among the agenda items, the board will make rule changes to create forms for the new “secured active designation” for voter registration. This secure active designation was created by this year’s Senate Bill 102, Senator Lee Schoenbeck’s (R-5/Watertown) pretty good idea to follow most other states in allowing victims of domestic abuse or stalking and other citizens with good reason to keep their personal information secret to register to vote without placing their information in the public voter database.
The other rule change on Monday’s agenda puts into rule this year’s Senate Bill 145, which tinkered with the rules for filling vacancies among party nominees. Previously, if a candidate for Legislature died or bailed between the primary and the deadline for naming candidates in August, a party’s replacement had to be certified by the party chair of each county touched by the district. If the district touched only one county, only that county’s party chair signed the certificate of nomination sent to the Secretary of State. If a district touched multiple counties (that’s 20 of the 35), the chair of every affected district had to sign the certificate. Per SB 145, the Board of Elections plans to change that rule to charge the state party central committee chairperson or someone designated by that chair to certify replacement nominees for multi-county Legislative districts.
The Board of Elections will also review the Secretary of State’s testing of ballot-counting equipment. Secretary Steve Barnett and his team tested our Election Systems and Software machines and programs July 26–28 and found they all appear to work. In election-mechanics trivia, we apparently have at least three vote-tabulating machines, each of which operate at distinctly different speeds:
- The DS200 Central Digital Tabulator, version 18.104.22.168, used by Aurora, Bon Homme, Buffalo, Butte, Campbell, Clark, Corson, Day, Dewey, Douglas, Edmunds, Faulk, Gregory, Haakon, Hand, Hanson, Harding, Hyde, Jerauld, Kingsbury, McPherson, Mellette, Perkins, Sanborn, Stanley, Sully, Walworth & Ziebach counties in 2020, has to be fed ballots one at a time and can tabulate 11 ballots per minute.
- The DS450 Central Count Tabulator, version 22.214.171.124, used in Clay, Lyman, Marshall, Miner, Roberts, Spink, Turner, Tripp/Todd, Union and Yankton counties in 2020, can slurp and scan 72 ballots per minute.
- The DS850 Central Count Tabulator, version 126.96.36.199, used in Beadle, Brookings, Brown, Codington, Davison, Lincoln, Meade, Minnehaha and Pennington counties in 2020, can tabulate 300 ballots per minute.
According to our latest Census data, Lawrence and Yankton counties have larger populations than Davison and Beadle; they might want to consider upgrading to the DS850.
The Board of Elections gets to work Monday morning at 10 a.m. Central. The agenda indicates they’ll convene at the SD Association of County Officials office at 211 East Prospect in Pierre; interested parties may also call in to the conference line 866.410.8397, code 2178377981.