Press "Enter" to skip to content

Hand Count ≠ Manual Count, Auditors Warn Board of Elections

The state Board of Elections meets this week on Wednesday in the Capitol to consider election-audit rules prepared by election-denier Secretary of State Monae Johnson and her election-integrity summer-study group. The agenda includes changes endorsed by 49 county auditors. (Notably absent from the endorsers is the auditor of Minnehaha County, Johnson’s fellow election-denier and enemy of free speech Leah Anderson.)

The auditors’ recommendations include an interesting semantic argument, contending that references to “hand counting” should be replaced with “manual counting”:

5:02:23:07. Public vote count. In the presence of all persons desiring to attend the post-election audit vote counting, the post-election auditing board shall immediately proceed to publicly hand manually count the votes and shall continue without adjournment until the count is completed.

The word ‘hand’ should be stricken and replaced with manual to stay consistent in the language in 12-17B-20. ‘Hand’ counting implies that the post-election audit board can take voter intent into consideration. The word ‘manual’ makes it clear that the board cannot consider voter intent and instead should only consider the parameters laid out in section 1 of this rule. We would also request that any accompanying manuals and training material for the post-election strike the word ‘hand’ and replace with ‘manual’ for clarity and consistency. We also request that it is stressed throughout the training that the post-election audit board is manually counting therefore they cannot consider voter intent [49 county auditors, public comment, submitted to South Dakota Board of Elections for September 27 rules hearing, 2023.09.22].

Looking at the words purely from a dictionary perspective, I wouldn’t see any difference between “hand” and “manual”. To me, they read like pure synonyms. I don’t see any implication in either term that people conducting such a count could consider voter intent or conduct any other analysis.

But “manual” is the term used in the new post-election-audit law passed in the 2023 Session, so that’s the term we should use in the rules implementing that law. And there is certainly nothing wrong with the auditors reminding the folks checking the ballots under this new law is that their job is not to try diving voter intent or imposing any other subjective analysis or wishful thinking onto the ballots on which their hands and eyes will fall; their job is to follow very specific and objective criteria laid out for all officials granted the sacred duty of reviewing our ballots.


  1. e platypus onion 2023-09-25

    5:02:23:07. Public vote count. In the presence of all persons desiring to attend the post-election audit vote counting, the post-election auditing board shall immediately proceed to publicly hand manually count the votes and shall continue without adjournment until the count is completed.

    I am sure all reservations to attend vote counting haver been applied for and accepted for members of vote deniers Local 666 to ensure chaos and force magat lege to make stricter voting rules.for the future.

  2. leslie 2023-09-25

    LOTS of room for partisan Monae Johnson to come up with ALTERNATE monkey business to illegitimately assure Republicans keep winning in South Dakota. And shouldn’t older “passionate” election workers should be discriminated against because — Joe Biden is too old, or will be, to win in 2024? To remain consistent, eh?


    BTW, here is an example worth considering about Biden’s age as a disqualification.

    (It’s Never Too Late to Find Love. Just Ask These Octogenarians. NYT headline)

    Over reaction you say? The infamous packed 6-3 conservative SCOTUS, in Justice Thomas, whi has a newly revealed “yearslong, personal relationship with the Koch brothers that has remained almost entirely out of public view. It developed over years of trips to the Bohemian Grove, a secretive all-men’s [$100,000 minimum entrance contribution!] retreat in Northern California. Thomas has been a regular at the Grove for two decades, where he stayed in a small camp with real estate billionaire Harlan Crow and the Kochs—[the Koch political influence network] passing the 2017 Trump tax cut, securing a windfall for the Kochs and their donors. And the upcoming Supreme Court term could bring the network a victory it has pursued for years: overturning a major legal precedent known as Chevron.”


  3. grudznick 2023-09-25

    Do you know what is really behind how the Republicans keep winning in South Dakota, Ms. leslie?
    They get more votes.

  4. Arlo Blundt 2023-09-25

    So what’s the problem driving these Republican poo-bahs to make these changes…as Grudznick points out Republicans reign triumphant in State Wide (and local) elections bi-annually and have for years. Seems to me, it’s just more internet nonsense.

  5. Jeff Barth 2023-09-25

    Who do I call to find 11,400 votes?
    That’s all I need!

  6. Page James 2023-09-25

    It all reminds me of a scene in the movie Amadeus where the emperor tells Mozart his opera has too many notes. These politicians think elections have too many votes!!

  7. Arlo Blundt 2023-09-25

    So…here’s the state of the State of South Dakota. The Governor announces a multi million dollar, long term development program of a World Class cyber security program at Dakota State University and its’ satellite in Sioux Falls. The Secretary of State announces new State Rules for election security featuring hundreds of volunteer, 70 and 80 year old ladies hand counting the results of every election, on every ballot, in every voting location in South Dakota. So….which proposal should we take seriously and which should we just ignore as more Pierre bred nonsense. Or maybe both???

  8. grudznick 2023-09-25

    Perhaps the nice ladies will be working in the cyborg center, Mr. Blundt. grudznick knows many ladies of that vintage who would like to have jobs outside of the Arby’s next to Ron’s Cafe.

  9. Arlo Blundt 2023-09-25’re trying to fog up the issue by bringing in an obscure and absurd possibility. It’s like Zittrich and the treaty ending the French and Indian Wat.

  10. Jake Kammerer 2023-09-26

    grudz-the epitome of GOP smokescreen.

  11. leslie 2023-09-26

    Flamethrower Kristi got 217,000 votes. There are 203,000 people in Sx Falls. Republicans’ only out is to cheat, more.

    [A] large part of the American far right has learned [a] rhetorical trick from Putin, from Orbán, from [Tucker] Carlson, and from other propagandists. Ignoring the real world in order to fight the culture war is now common practice. Although Trump was wholly ignorant of economics and foreign policy, his supporters didn’t care, because he got them excited about owning the libs. Ron DeSantis still seems to believe that a “war on woke” is more likely than a comprehensive health-care plan to help him get elected president, and he might be right. A wide range of senators who should know better—including Ted Cruz, J. D. Vance, and Josh Hawley, who used to talk a lot about real issues—have now abandoned policy debates in order to fight the culture wars and attack “elites,” despite their own Ivy League pedigrees.

  12. John 2023-09-26

    It’ll require about 4-10 years to purge the trump-won-the-election nuts from our school boards, local, county, and state governments.
    Nutbag, Handcount Leah Anderson, auditor, Minnehaha County, is accused of “acting like Ponitius Pilot” according by a commissioner in Minnehaha County.
    The Dakota Scout carried the article. I don’t subscribe so settled with reading the headline and teaser.
    The advertiser conscious Kelo-TV posted a sanitized version of the exchanges:

    Grab the popcorn and watch the morons implode.

Comments are closed.