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In Pennington County, Absentee Voting Has Been Extremely Popular


In the state’s second largest county absentee voting has been extremely heavy this year. Pennington County received more than 37,000 absentee ballots, nearly double that from 2016.

Given that influx an absentee ballot board has been at work since 7 am, opening ballots and putting an official stamp on them and getting them ready to run through the tabulators.

The ballots won’t get tallied until after the polls close, which is 7 pm local time.

Peggy Seljeskog is an absentee ballot supervisor. She’s been working as an election official for 25 years.

She grew up watching her mom doing the same thing.

“She talked about why it is important,” Seljeskog says. "It’s always been important. I was one of those geeks who stayed away in civics class. I believe in the integrity of the system.”

Seljeskog says there are a lot of new people who are getting involved in the process.

“If you take COVID aside, the interest in the election with the number of ballots coming in and the number of people who have wanted to work in the process," she adds. "Some of them say I wish I would have done this before. I think it’s great. Now we have new blood coming in and an interest in the process.”

Absentee ballot workers are close to finished with opening and preparing early ballots.

Pennington County Auditor Cindy Mohler says the phones have been busy all day, which she says means the polls have been busy too.

Voters have until 7 pm local time to cast their ballot.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.