UPDATE II: Sioux Falls School District vote count complicated

UPDATE II: The AL has a great story this morning about ‘top heavy’ administrative pay (the story should have been done before the election, but better late then never). You can take it the way you want to, but I love the goobly-guck the SFSD uses to justify the enormous pay gap between administrators and teachers. They say SF should pay administrators more because we are a bigger city. LOL. You also have MORE administrators. Over $9 million of this year’s budget goes toward administrative pay which hovers at around $100K average per administrator.

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CORRECTION: I had originally posted that the votes were counted twice, that is not the case. I jumped to conclusions. A commenter pointed out that you have a possibility of TWO votes per ballot. I feel like a dumbass. But I still stand by what I wrote below. The undervotes are NOT being shown correctly. I also wonder what the odds are of the top two vote getters TYING?

Just look for yourself, according to the SFSD results page, 4,239 votes were counted and 4,247 were cast.

UPDATE: OKAY, this isn’t as bad as it looks, but it’s still questionable, once you figure out that each ballot ‘can’ contain TWO votes. But it also can contain just one or none.

But if you add up the vote count of the four candidates and undervotes you come to a grand total of; 8,478 votes. If if you divide it by 2 you get 4,239 ballots (actual number of ballots counted).

By these numbers they are saying that everyone voted for two candidates. While you certainly could vote for two, some people only vote for one. Where it gets even more complicated, if they seem to have counted the undervotes TWICE. In other words, they consider one blank ballot as TWO undervotes.

I’m even more confused now.



#1 taxpayer/voter on 05.22.19 at 1:14 pm

There are multiple reasons why school district elections need to be combined with municipal/general elections and overseen by the County Auditor.

And, this is one of them.

Bev Chase has struck out one too many times for the taxpayers!

#2 Mark Peterson on 05.22.19 at 1:21 pm

You cannot just double the number of voters to get the number of votes. I for one voted for only one candidate.

#3 D@ily Spin on 05.22.19 at 1:21 pm

It can’t be hard to accurately count so few ballots. It’s impossible to replace the corrupt school board when voting is a scavenger hunt location and your vote doesn’t get counted. Disgusting. This city has become another Syria or Venezuela. It’s become impossible to resemble democracy yet they insist you are.

#4 l3wis on 05.22.19 at 1:35 pm

The only thing I can think of is the E-Poll books malfunctioned and somehow only counted half of the voters. Either way it needs to be investigated and there needs to be a re-vote and have the county machine count the votes with all 57 precincts involved. The cost of the election (around $80K) should come out of the administration’s operational budget.

#5 "Very Stable Genius" on 05.22.19 at 2:56 pm

I only vote for one, too.

#6 anominous on 05.22.19 at 3:08 pm

“Ballots counted”= 4,239

Each “ballot” is a (piece of paper) on which you can vote for up to two candidates.

“Ballots counted” would mean they counted 4,239 ballots (pieces of paper), which may each have up to two votes.

SO then add up the votes cast to each candidate.

Then I’m guessing the badly named “Over/under votes” column actually shows the number of ballots where people voted for just one candidate. If you add that 734 to the 7744 you get 8478, which shows that 734 people voted for one candidate only. 8478 is theoretically the number of votes possible with 4,239 ballots if each one had 2 votes on it.

That final spreadsheet column is titled stupidly though- “over/under vote”. You would hope an over-voted ballot (more than 2 votes!) would get thrown out and not included in any of the results.

The total number of “votes” cast is 7744, on 4,239 ballots. Guessing there were 734 people who voted for only one candidate, if that column means “under vote” only.

Don’t know what happened to the +8 voters (of 4,247 who showed up) who didn’t get their ballots included. Were these the actual “over-votes” who may have filled out more than 2?

Really bad job at a spreadsheet design, imho.

Anyway, my $0.02 guess at SFPSspeak.

#7 Pete on 05.22.19 at 3:19 pm


So as i understand it everyone gets 2 votes (2 seats right?). So 4,239 voters get 8,478 votes.

So then it’s all above board 🙂

#8 Briggs on 05.22.19 at 3:38 pm

Do a line by line breakdown of what you believe is wrong. I put the numbers into excel and couldn’t find a problem.

As one of only two members of the public at the vote count I would rather not have been at the scene of a crime.

#9 Pete on 05.22.19 at 3:38 pm

As an open gov/transparency person you should include your original story as well in your update.

Did you make a mistake? yeah. Is it an “incredibly huge human error?!” No. You like the SFSD are trying to make Sioux Falls a better place to live. But transparency is important.

#10 peter Pischke on 05.22.19 at 3:54 pm

Ughh, Math is hard!!!!!!

To be fair, my degrees are in Journalism.

Even if the software screwed up the tallies, I highly doubt it makes a difference.

The only thing that matters in Sioux Falls School Board elections is incumbency and the endorsement of the Teacher’s Union.

While I endorse any and all efforts to audit how we do elections ( keep everyone on their toes and encourages good ethics) this will make no difference in the outcome.

#11 peter Pischke on 05.22.19 at 3:55 pm

And I should say, that admitting to making a mistake is big thing to do.

Might want to alter your facebook posts too.

#12 Pete on 05.22.19 at 4:11 pm

The correction is great, but your iteration 1 also include some indication that the SFSD lacked full competency. An addition to your current correction an addition around that seems warranted.

I’d also note that your iteration 1 and iteration 2 versions of this post (on iteration 3 by my count) includes an call to action to take a screen shot of the results before they were taken down. I would again suggest re-posting the original text.

#13 l3wis on 05.22.19 at 4:14 pm

Pete, I will forward your complaints to my editor/publisher 🙂

I didn’t feel the need to ask for a screenshot when it really doesn’t matter. I also think there is also many discrepencies with the spreadsheet, and when it comes to an election, we should try to get everything correct. For instance, where did the 8 votes disappear to?

BTW, it’s not like I voted for a doomed parking ramp.

#14 anominous on 05.22.19 at 4:15 pm

Hmm, I don’t see any of the polling place totals from Nan’s mailer…

#15 Warren Phear on 05.22.19 at 7:44 pm

Anyway you wanna slice it, 4,239 ballots cast out of 110,040 eligible is not very good. Most figure the damage is already done, why bother now.

#16 Lincoln County Delegate on 05.23.19 at 8:08 am

Interesting tidbit on the polling locations chosen. 7 out 13 polling places were at School District Facilities. 3 out of the 13 were a stones throw away from a SFSD school.

#17 "Very Stable Genius" on 05.23.19 at 2:20 pm

4239 out of 110,040 will always work to the School Board’s advantage. They’re no dummies. Why risk change with more polling places and/or in conjunction with city and state elections?


#18 "Very Stable Genius" on 05.23.19 at 2:39 pm

One final thought: Having only 3.85223% of the registered voters voting in an election places into question the legitimacy of those who are elected. Sure, the winners got more votes than their opponents and a lot more people could have voted. But all of this is the reality of not generic apathy, but rather manipulation by the Board in how they handle elections and thus foster a convenient apathy for their own interests. Much is said about how we need to bring civics back into our classrooms, but I think we now know why it has been missing, because our own Board does not appreciate civics any more or promote it, do they?


#19 l3wis on 05.23.19 at 2:42 pm

The irony is if they would tie their elections into city or state or federal elections, not only would there be a higher voter turnout, they would save money. But if you listen to the administrators in our district, they are already doing that 🙁

#20 Sarah on 05.23.19 at 3:53 pm

Today’s article is a good start at investigative reporting and should have been reported in May 17th editorial. When I asked Conlon why they ran it after election she stated they had to confirm numbers. These numbers are on the SFSD website and not hard to add up. The US map data was a google search, I believe.

The Walmart comparison doesn’t hold water and the 9 Million salary goes to how many FTE? That’s where the sticker shock is.

Have we heard how much money Morrison has saved the district? Does it cover his salary?

A belated thank you for your support Scott!

Sarah K Anderson

#21 "Very Stable Genius" on 05.23.19 at 4:02 pm

Yah, they’re saving money alright. They spent money on two new votech high schools ten years ago without raising taxes or asking for a bond; money which should have been “saved” for the inevitable fourth high school.

This Board has been hijacked by the “workforce development” crowd or mentality, who are more interested in turning our children into widgets that will work at widget factories, than children who will turn into well rounded adults that achieve their greatest promises.

Some will laugh at this, but it is actually a form of slavery – slaves who are underpaid with a limited future – where a potential workforce is being channeled for the few and not for the many.

If there are not enough people working in vocational employment, then the answer is to pay them more and not to channel them when they are young and impressionable, but when you answer to a few and rigid elections to protect your political status, then the few win in more ways than one.

We live in this ironic world, where the Republican elites and some enabling Democrats – Democrats who work in education in particular – are promoting an educational system which is European, socialistic, and at great odds with the idea of creating individuals who not only cherish liberty, but are allowed to practice it and are protected from any impressionable channeling.

Now, some may say that this “socialistic” allegation on my part speaks of Democratic values often, but without even going there, I have always been of the belief that
Democrats believe in full intellectual development of the individual so that we can live in a democracy that continues, but when our educational system begins to create minds that are merely wigets, then we are not sustaining a democracy, rather we are merely sustaining an economy for a few, a rigid economy, that is….


#22 anonymous on 05.23.19 at 9:13 pm

AL’s Shelly Conlon hasn’t been in town long, but she’s already become a ‘tool’ for the SFSD.

#23 Sarah on 05.24.19 at 9:58 am

I made a mistake in judgement on Conlon’s article. She dove deep into data and it took time before publishing and I commend her. She also listened at the forum and addressed hot topics that should matter to all of us.

No matter how you slice it, Baker and Reiter won by a large margin and Hubbel and I made an impact on the election. Like it or not. 🙂

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