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Monae Johnson Wants Less Accurate Vote Counts, Undermining Democracy to Protect Apartheidist Theocracy

Incoming Secretary of State Monae Johnson is living up to her election-denier credentials. Her policy priorities include denying everyone efficiently and accurately counted ballots by pushing for statewide hand counts and bans on ballot tabulating machines:

…the campaign is over, and Johnson is thinking about the changes she hopes to make when she takes office next year.

Changes like an audit of every precinct in South Dakota and a state-level push to convince county auditors to hand-count all ballots. She’s also suggesting that lawmakers consider barring the use of tabulator machines altogether.

Election officials across the state – including the outgoing secretary of state and a county auditor who presided over the last fully hand-counted election nearly two decades ago – worry that such changes would complicate counting and render it less accurate.

“You’d never get an accurate count,” said Julie Pearson, the former Pennington County auditor that oversaw the transition from hand-counted ballots to tabulation. “Plus, the time. Our scanners, I think, run 200 ballots a minute” [Joshua Haiar, “Incoming Secretary of State Looks to Hand-Count Ballots, Audit Each Election,” South Dakota Searchlight, 2022.11.23].

As we just saw in Tripp County, where Johnson’s fellow election deniers pushed for hand counts, machines count ballots better than humans. Johnson’s proposals will make elections less accurate.

But Johnson and her ilk don’t want more accurate elections. They want the exact opposite of their slogans. They want to undermine election integrity. They want to sow doubt about the reliability of vote counts so they can justify voter suppression, Legislative rejection of election results, and, if necessary, violent insurrection to block the will of an electorate whose demographics are tilting inevitably against them. The only way Johnson’s dwindling white apartheidist theocratic faction can maintain power in a democracy is to thwart democracy.


  1. larry kurtz 2022-11-24 07:25

    MAGA is a franchise — a pyramid scheme designed by those who would rip the republic apart and replace it with dominionism. Monae Johnson is simply a cog in that machine.

  2. Nick Nemec 2022-11-24 07:50

    Hand counting ballots is a step back and a rejection of modernity. I could revert to farming with horses like my great-grandfather did but it wouldn’t improve the process.

  3. Curt 2022-11-24 11:07

    Sadly it will be up to our Legislature to deter her from dragging SD back to the days of statehood.

  4. Donald Pay 2022-11-24 11:56

    Nick is correct. If Monae demands inefficiency, she shouldn’t be fobbing off the work and the added expense onto counties. I’d like to see Monae hand-counting ballots just to understand what mind-numbing stupidity it is. I hope she proposes something concrete to the Legislature for any appropriations needed to make this switch to hand counting. How many more election officials would it take to do a hand count all of South Dakota for all the races? How many more hours would be needed to complete tabulations? Don’t expect election night results, even in blowout races. She needs to flesh out her proposal with some actual numbers. There are plenty of studies which show hand-counting is less accurate, but if she wants to discount those results she needs to provide comparisons of the accuracy of hand counts versus machine counts in South Dakota before he tries to foist this off on your state. Hand counting may be fine for depopulated rural precincts in South Dakota, but I’d be worried about the secrecy of the ballot where precincts have few voters.

    Studies in Wisconsin, where we have more recounts than most states because our elections tend to be close, have shown that machine counting is more accurate than hand-counting, but no tabulation system is perfect. Election equipment must be kept up-to-date to provide the most accurate results. For close races, recounts find errors, which are often human errors having nothing to do with the counting method.

  5. larry kurtz 2022-11-24 12:05

    What’s next for South Dakota—driving volunteer poll workers away for hired ballot counters?

  6. larry kurtz 2022-11-24 12:10

    All mail in voting system is already taxing a gutted postal service in some states. Montana Republicans have succeeded in disenfranchising Native voters so expect my home to make it impossible on the rez.

  7. Arlo Blundt 2022-11-24 19:28

    Trump inspired nonsense. I hope when the ex President takes up residency in a prison, or escapes the country for a villa in Spain, this seditious tomfoolery will fade away.

  8. Mark Anderson 2022-11-25 07:35

    South Dakota remains the same. One step forward, three thousand steps back in time.

  9. Dicta 2022-11-28 14:10

    Why there wasnt more money spent opposing her, I will never know. This woman thinks the last election was stolen and now runs the proverbial show.

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