State preparing for more absentee ballots in June election

PIERRE, S.D. ( — South Dakota Secretary of State, Steve Barnett, is preparing for a June primary election like no other in state history.

The COVID-19 crisis is so fluid from day to day that there is no way to predict how the situation will be on June 2. A worst, worst-case scenario would be to delay the primary, but Barnett says that would be up to the State Legislature.

So, Barnett is mailing out absentee voting applications to all registered voters in South Dakota. He hopes that will encourage more people to mail-in votes, resulting in fewer people actually going to the polls. More mail-in voting doesn’t mean more voter fraud. Barnett says in South Dakota applications must be notarized or accompanied by a copy of a photo ID.

Another challenge for an election in the midst of the coronavirus situation is making sure there are enough poll workers.

Elections officials are brainstorming ways to encourage more people, younger people, to consider being poll workers. Barnett says another idea would be to combine voting districts in less populated areas to reduce the number of workers needed.