SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A package of bills is making its way through Pierre to address South Dakota’s election laws; the legislation would mandate post-election audits, address how voter registration data is updated and presented, ban ranked-choice voting and more.
The nine pieces of legislation are House Bill 1112, House Bill 1114, House Bill 1124, House Bill 1165, Senate Bill 55, Senate Bill 102, Senate Bill 116, Senate Bill 140 and Senate Bill 160.
Dan Santella: Do you think election laws and elections in South Dakota are already strong and safe?
“I think that we’ve had very good election laws in South Dakota,” said Republican Sen. Casey Crabtree, who is a sponsor of all nine bills. “I think that because we’ve had good, dependable results, with good folks working those, doesn’t mean that we should just set back on our heels. We need to continue to find ways to improve.”
Crabtree says there isn’t any doubt that election fraud has been exceedingly rare in South Dakota. Senate Bill 160 would mandate post-election audits in every county.
“I think at the end of the day that is the number one thing that we have heard from our voters over and over again is ‘Let’s have an audit, let’s make sure that everything worked the way we intended it to,’ and that’s what SB 160 does,” Crabtree said.
When it comes to the quality of South Dakota’s current election laws, Democratic Rep. Kameron Nelson agrees with Crabtree.
“Our current system is strong, our current system is valid and our elections have great integrity, and I believe as South Dakotans, as Americans, we should be reassured that that is the case,” Nelson said.
Nelson voted against HB 1165, which deals with absentee voting. One of its provisions is a ban on absentee ballot drop boxes.
“HB 1165 was really an attempt to disenfranchise voters,” Nelson said. “It doesn’t take into consideration folks that do not work an 8 to 5 job. This bill would limit the drop boxes within those buildings that are locked at certain hours.”
With regard to the absentee ballot drop box provision, Crabtree says these refer to unmonitored absentee ballot drop boxes. That provision, he says, is an effort to prevent any possible future problems.