UPDATE: 85% Passage of School Bond ‘Highly Questionable’

I will agree that the school bond would pass. There really wasn’t much opposition and with only the Argus and this blog giving voters ALL of the factual information. I don’t have an issue with the turnout (numbers) of 16,000 either. I figured it would be around that.

UPDATE: There is now a rumor going around that the SFSD is telling the media that Minnehaha County (auditor’s office) cancelled a contract with the SFSD to handle any of their elections. A county official told me tonight that NEVER came in front of the County Commission to review and I know that Litz said he was willing to run the school bond election if the SFSD asked him to. So who cancelled this supposed contract? Well, that would seem to be the SFSD. Also, as I understand it these ‘contracts’ are for EACH election when the election presents itself. In other words even if there was a contract, a NEW contract for the school bond issue could have been written up with the County Auditor’s office. I also know that Theresa Stehly had a one-on-one meeting asking, if not begging, the Superintendent to run this election through the Auditor’s office using all the precincts, absentee voting at the county admin building and machine tabulation and record keeping. It fell on deaf ears. So the bigger question is why would the SFSD now be starting this ‘rumor’? Are they trying to hide something? In my research there are no state laws barring the SFSD from handling their own election or using district employees to tabulate. It just doesn’t look good, at all.

But besides the stuff Bruce pointed out in his press release yesterday, I caught an interesting video on KELOLAND’s Facebook page of Brady Mallory. He was showing how volunteers were hand tabulating the votes. That seemed like a normal process except for all the SFSD administrators hovering over them (which some people complained about). But where it got even more suspicious was when Brady pointed to the TWO people who were entering the numbers into the computer (screenshot below – video coming soon) without independent oversight from volunteers watching to see if they are entering the numbers correctly.

A couple of foxes tabulating the Hen election

So who are these two? The Business Manager for the SFSD, Todd Vik and the Program Director for the SFSD, Doug Morrison. I’m certainly not accusing them of tampering with the vote, BUT, there certainly wasn’t anyone watching them to make sure they were doing it right. I spoke with Mallory this morning and he told me that he thought they were just entering the numbers for the website. So who was entering the numbers in the system?

Also, Bev Chase said on one of the TV stations last night that the ‘ballots will be destroyed after the election.’ while she is allowed to do that, she has to hold on them for 2 years before she does that in case there needs to be a review of the results.

This election should have been handled independently by the County Auditor or even City Clerk and tabulated by machine. At the very least it should have been monitored by Bob Litz or the SOS. There was NO independent review or watchful eyes.

Unfortunately in the past when we have had questions or complaints about elections we are told to ‘hire an attorney’. The SOS refuses to look into as well as the AG and the State’s attorney who has often used as an excuse “I have too many murder cases to worry about.” Even County Auditor Bob Litz has given up. The ACLU has also not bothered to look into it even though we warned them before the election that this was not on the up and up. I guess they are more concerned about bathrooms and abortion than they are about fair and balanced elections.

So why as a taxpayer should I have to hire a private attorney to investigate a government entity that I fund and an election that I fund? F’ing ludicrous.


#1 ?? on 09.19.18 at 10:48 am

SFSD administrators were not only shown moving around the room, at least 2 of them (Boysen, Ass’t Super and Muilenburg-Wilson, Senior Director of Special Services) were seen actually counting the votes.

#2 D@ily Spin on 09.19.18 at 11:26 am

Isn’t it time for state intervention? There should be strict supervised legal voting principles and practices. Partisan school district goons working the count is reprehensible. I’ll always vote. Even if my vote isn’t counted.

#3 Bruce on 09.19.18 at 11:37 am

In case anyone cares, SDCL 13-7-17 states:

Certification of school district election returns–Preservation of ballots and ballot boxes. The returns from a school district election shall be certified by the election board in each polling place, and the ballots, properly sealed in ballot boxes, together with the pollbooks, shall be placed in the custody of the school district’s business manager, who shall keep such boxes inviolate for at least sixty days after the canvass of the returns.
Source: SDC 1939, § 15.2514; SL 1955, ch 41, ch 9, § 16; SL 1957, ch 64, § 7; SDC Supp 1960, § 15.2316; SL 1975, ch 128, § 42.

Wonder how many boxes of ballots rode around in a special mini van this year?

#4 White Panther on 09.19.18 at 1:14 pm

My mom was a school secretary and she would work the polls in the school board elections. Yes, I never got why it was run by the school and not the state or county.

#5 JKC on 09.19.18 at 1:35 pm

If I was going to steal an election, and I needed 60% of the vote to win, then I would have the results be 62% “Yes” and not 85%. Because I wouldn’t want to raise any eyebrows. Thus, I don’t think this election was stolen.

Although, I felt that the “Yes” team had a majority even before the election. I am shocked by the level of its support, however; but this blog even claimed that if “Yes” won, it would win big, which it did.

So the question is why did it win so big and I think the answer is two fold. On the one hand, the “No” people were not organized; and frankly for me if, Staggers says “No,” then I automatically say “Yes.” In fact, I voted “Yes” even though I have had many reservations about the soon windfall to come in the form of property tax revenues for the District, City, and County due to the hyperinflationary value of median priced homes in this town; and not to mention the question as to why we have CTEA and NTHS before we have a fourth high school. And the other reason that “Yes” won big is, that it was the perfect storm, where the proposal was to build schools for the poorer areas of town, the $ 2 per month claim was never effectively challenged, and the passage of the proposal would neatly fit into the political narrative of the elite in this town and their “Forward Sioux Falls” mentality, which meant a grand coalition was positioned to win with a “Yes” vote (No wonder 85%). Which then, left only the “‘Dr. No’ crowd” to fight off the “Yes” position, but they were out numbered (obviously), are probably dying off, and obviously not organized.

The big questions now, in the post bond election world are also two fold. One, watch the redistricting, let us make sure that the affluent schools are equally populated like the poor areas of town will be and we must not allow the affluent schools to enjoy the fat of the new buildings for themselves. Two, we need to identify the “windfall” I mentioned above and make sure it is used to keep the building costs down and not just used for pet projects.

#6 JKC on 09.19.18 at 3:15 pm

But if we can’t trust the District to run its own elections, then how can we trust the State to run general or primary elections?

I think it is key for us to continue and limit our electoral fights, concerning District elections, to a struggle against the “Super Precinct” concept and a demand for paper ballots and/or a paper trail….

#7 Tax Freeze on 09.19.18 at 5:21 pm

I am a senior citizen living on a fixed income.

I have owned my home for 30 yrs. It has more than doubled in value during that time and my property taxes reflect this.

Yesterday, our City Council passed an ANNUAL property tax increase. This year that increase is 2.1%.

In addition, the 190m school bond issue passed which will also increase what I pay in property taxes.


FYI Freeze on Assessments: Dwellings of Disabled
and Senior Citizens

Information available at Minnehaha County/Director of Equalization:

What the Program Does

The Freeze on Assessments Program prevents the homeowner’s property from increasing in value, for tax purposes.

This means that if the value of the home increases, the homeowner will pay tax on the former (lower) value. Property is defined as the house, garage, and the lot
upon which it sits, or one acre, whichever is less.

Income Limits

You must meet the income limits to qualify for the program. The income limits for applications received are based on your income of the previous calendar year. “Income” is your federal adjusted gross
income plus any other income (including
Social Security payments). The reduction of your taxes is on a graduated scale based on income.

The limits for the applications are:

(*numbers are taken from the January 1, 2017 application)

Single member household (only one person in household), income less than $27,423.54.

Multiple member household (include all members income), income less than $34,279.42.

Property Valuation Limit

Property with a full and true market value of 188,240.34 or more is not eligible for this tax program unless the applicant has received the assessment freeze in a preceding year on the property.


Application for this program does not make you ineligible for other property tax relief programs.

• You must be 65 years of age or older, OR disabled (as defined by the Social Security Act).

• You must own the property or have retained a life estate in the property.

• Un-remarried widows/widowers of persons previously qualified for the program may still qualify.

To Apply

Applications must be submitted annually to your county treasurer on or before April 1st. Applications are available beginning in January at your county courthouse or from the Division of Property and Special
Taxes web site at:


#8 Bruce on 09.19.18 at 6:26 pm

We citizens are the only safeguards. When we don’t vote or look over the shoulders of the vested interests to make sure our ballots are counted properly we insult those who were here before use.

#9 Warren Phear on 09.19.18 at 7:30 pm

Tax Freeze. We are also seniors. We also are being taxed out of what has been our city for all our lives. Enough is enough. We are gone.

#10 Peter "Mega" Pischke on 09.19.18 at 7:56 pm

Tax Freeze, I’m so sorry to hear that.

I think we forget that these decisions do have real world impacts that effect the little guys.

#11 Peter "Mega" Pischke on 09.19.18 at 7:57 pm

No one cares how the sausage is made in this town,

It does bother me that our government easily abandons ethics if it looks to be an easy advantage to gain so they can do whatever it is they want to do.

Oh well,

#12 D@ily Spin on 09.19.18 at 8:13 pm

I took my own unofficial poll. Most everyone I spoke with voted and voted ‘Yes’. I am one who voted ‘No’ because I didn’t like how this election was mostly unadvertised and 50 million got somehow added at the last minute. The sneaking around bothers me but it passed. It costs more now to live in Sioux Falls and this is only the beginning.

#13 Matthew Paulson on 09.19.18 at 9:00 pm

An important point missing here is the financial details involved in having the county run the election.

What did the county want to charge the district for running the election and was that a reasonable amount for the work involved in running the election?

No public numbers have been shared to my knowledge, but that would be an interesting question for the media to ask the county.

#14 l3wis on 09.19.18 at 9:05 pm

$25K, which is a pittance compared to a $300 million dollar tax increase. Or they could have done it with the general for virtually nothing. Or they could of had Denny Sanford pay for it, instead of giving it to a mysterious consultant.

#15 Worst Auditor Ever on 09.20.18 at 9:30 am

Honestly. if Bob Litz had run the election we’d still be awaiting the results. He has zero credibility.

#16 l3wis on 09.20.18 at 9:37 am

I get it. I guess my concern is that it was hand tabulated instead of machine and the foxes were running the hen election. It doesn’t look good. It just should have been handled independently.