Absentee voting in rural areas of South Dakota is up from 2016

S.D. — Rural areas around the Black Hills are seeing an increase of absentee ballots this election. In Custer and Meade counties, absentee ballots are at an all time high, which could be attributed to the pandemic or that more people have made up their mind early.

Many rural areas in South Dakota saw more people vote early during the 2020 election that they did in 2016. Custer County has over 1,000 absentee ballots more than four years ago.

“What we tallied last night was 3,323 absentee votes four years ago for the presidential election we had 1,994 so quite a few more,” said Terri Cornelison, Custer County Auditor.

Meade County nearly doubled it’s early voter turnout with 7,000 absentee ballots turned in, opposed to 3,800 four years ago.

Lisa Schieffer, Meade County Auditor said, “I think a lot of it has to do with the pandemic, but I also think people know that this is a ease to be able to take these home. To be able to vote them on their own time and bring them back in, I think we will see that this will probably be the way of the future. And this will continue to increase because this way people can take the time to vote them and not stand in line.”

COVID-19 safety guidelines were in place in South Dakota polling locations with social distance between booths, and hand sanitizer for voters. But with those guidelines put in place, more people than ever decided to submit absentee ballots and skip the crowd.

“I believe we had, because of the COVID, more people did an absentee ballot so either came to my office and voted or they did it by mail.”

Categories: Local News, Politics & Elections