Secretary Of State Says Write Ins Don’t Count In SD

Oct 12, 2016

Two of South Dakota’s top Republican lawmakers are calling on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to drop out of the race… but technically it’s too late for that in South Dakota.

The state’s ballots have been printed and early voting already started last month.

Over the weekend Senator John Thune and Governor Dennis Daugaard called on presidential candidate Donald Trump to exit the presidential race. However both indicate they will vote for the GOP candidate over democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Early voting has begun in South Dakota, much like the rest of the country. That means the timeline for Trump to drop off the ticket has passed, despite high profile Republicans calling for his withdrawal to clear the way for Vice Presidential nominee Indiana governor Mike Pence.

One popular alternative is the idea of writing in an underdog candidate. But Secretary of State Shantel Krebs says write in votes do not count…

“Somebody might be frustrated and want to write something in," Krebs says. "We don’t encourage it, but it does not throw out your entire ballot. We’ve had a lot of questions and misinformation out there saying ‘well, the entire ballot is thrown out, then.’ That’s not correct. If you do a write in it just wouldn’t be counted, because state law does not allow it to be counted. Second of all, the next part to that is your ballot is still counted based on the race.”

Krebs says votes are counted for questions that are marked. She says just because a vote for a particular candidate is skipped doesn’t mean the rest of the ballot goes unchecked. She says under-voting is a common practice…

“You can mark a few of them," Krebs says. "[If] you don’t want to mark a couple races, that’s your prerogative but the ballots are not thrown out.”

The voter registration deadline is South Dakota is October 24, a Monday.