The solution for the Absentee ballot arrival problem would have been an easy fix. It is a simple process if official ballots could not arrive in time. How do I know this? I do not know how many elections I have been a volunteer but I have been involved in the process for 52 years in South Dakota. You can learn a few things if you want to.
Let’s consider what could have been done by a real election organizer:
1. The original ballot order could have reserved space in the production line for a Run-off election.
2. A tentative ballot order could have been placed election night to reserve a spot in the production line.Â
3. Laser or quick copy service printed absentee ballots on plain paper could have been sent out immediately upon the City Council canvas one week after the election. In a properly organized election day, the process requires individuals on a Resolution Board to copy the vote selections to a proper ballot under similar situations.
The City Council of Sioux Falls has had a policy of hiring or relying on a Certified City Clerk for decades. The City Clerk is the Chief Election Officer of the City of Sioux Falls. As the Chief Election Officer, the Clerk has full responsibility for all city election functions; including the ballots, polling locations and the counting of the ballots.
The County Auditor is only hired to run the counting machines, NOTHING more, it’s in the contract. So if something is screwed up, don’t blame Litz.
When City Clerk Greco was hired in 2016. When his appointment was rumored, I discovered there was no record showing him as a registered voter. He had admitted he had not voted in “decades” or since he lived on the east coast. So, our Mayor and his staff arranged for questionably qualified person to be hired over others who were already certified and ready to continue working.
Remember the election 2012-2014 issues our county and town were experiencing? To their credit, the County Commission decided something needed to be done to find a way to fix the problems caused by the population growth, software changes, Secretary of State shenanigans and equipment failures. The decision was to appoint a group of seven voters to a Minnehaha County Election Review Committee to study the problems and come up with solutions. Over the behind the scene objections of Mayor Mike Huether, the members selected me to be Chairman.
Our group met in public with the video cameras running, to compile suggestions leading to a report of repairs to the systems. Our process suggestions have been proven to work when implemented.
Failure of the counting process in 2016 was Greco’s baptism under fire when the recommendations of the Minnehaha County Election Review Committee were rejected by him. The April city election day was a major failure when the broken processes were once again used and we once again had to endure the mess.
Now we have a screw-up based on lack of forethought and planning causing another disenfranchisement of voters. Why can’t Sioux Falls have someone in charge who understands why elections are important to its citizens and democracy?
No, should we bring up the lack of Saturday voting? What’s the deal? Oh yes, more business as usual: disenfranchisement.