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County auditors confident in process leading up to election

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Kent Osborne
/
SDPB
Minnehaha County auditor Ben Kyte says voters should be prepared for a long ballot this election cycle

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th, and poll workers and county auditors are preparing ballot locations and responding to questions about election integrity.

Minnehaha County has the state’s largest population of voters tallied at just under 100,000 votes in the 2020 General Election.

County Auditor Ben Kyte said despite the questions of integrity and workload for poll workers, he’s confident with the process.

“There has never been any fraud that I’m aware of in Minnehaha County – I’m very comfortable with this," Kyte said. "I live it each day. I’m in the process, I understand the checks and balances, the controls. I know that we’re doing everything we can to make sure it’s fair and honest.”

Kyte said many misinterpret human error as voter fraud. He said he supports the effort of local poll workers.

“The people that we’ve hired don’t come with agenda, right? The only agenda they have is to serve the public," Kyte said. "I’m very comfortable with the people that we have. They’re all very discreet people, they’re true citizens who want to do a good job. They leave their political leanings at the door.”

In rural Lyman County, Auditor Deb Halverson says the 2020 elections were secure in South Dakota. She acknowledges there’s been an increase in questions and Freedom of Information Act requests.

Halverson said there’s another issue facing election workers - unregistered poll monitors.

“We have been notified that we may have poll watchers in our precincts," Halverson said.
"I will be doing some extra training with my precinct workers to make sure they are aware and can handle the situation and make sure they are running the precincts properly. I’m not foreseeing any major, unsettling things happening at my precincts here in Lyman County.”

Halverson said election law in South Dakota is strong and she does not foresee any fraud in Lyman County.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering education, healthcare, arts and culture.