Auditor ‘110 percent’ sure totals are correctDavison turnout discrepancy arises because of active vs. inactive voters.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
Davison County Auditor Susan Kiepke said she is confident the vote totals she released Tuesday night are accurate.
The primary election June 5 became an embarrassment for her office when the
originally reported numbers were revealed to be inaccurate. An accidental double-count of some ballots inflated the vote totals.
But that’s not the case with these results, Kiepke said. These figures are right.
“Yeah, absolutely,” a tired and barefoot auditor said as she wrapped up a 15-hour day at 9:30 p.m. “I’m 110 percent sure.”
She had her staff of three working with her and was assisted by two people from Election Systems & Software (ES&S), the company that makes the vote-counting machines the county uses.
Keipke said while other auditors have used the ES&S staffers in the past, including her predecessor in the auditor’s office, she did not in June. But she’s glad she did this time and will from now on. The ES&S workers included a trainee. Their services will cost the county about $2,000, Kiepke said. There was a brief struggle transferring data onto discs, but
the vote-counting process continued at a steady pace until about 9:20 p.m.
There was one discrepancy. The turnout was 65.14 percent, according to Kiepke, but it was reported as 69.4 percent by the South Dakota Secretary of State.
There were 8,087 votes cast, and on that, both offices agree. The difference is between “active” and “inactive” registered voters.
Kiepke said there are 12,414 registered voters in the county, and 11,653 are considered active voters. An inactive voter is someone who has not cast a ballot for four years. They still are considered registered voters, Kiepke said, and are eligible for the election, but must fill out a new voter registration card before casting a ballot.
Kiepke included inactive voters in her turnout report, while the Secretary of State’s Office did not.
Tuesday night, the courthouse was a busy place, with a buffet table set up in the hallway, people filling chairs along the walls and Commissioner Denny Kiner offering assistance while chatting with people.
A group of Cub Scouts was also on hand. Webelos from Den 4, Pack 77 in Mitchell carried in ballot boxes and bags and did other chores in the courthouse. Den leader Rod Brown said it was a chance for the six Webelos
to learn more about the electoral process. A Boy Scout and five fathers also came along to help.
Hunter Stas, 11, an L.B. Williams Elementary School fourth-grader, said he enjoyed the experience and learned one thing for sure.
“The machines are really smart,” he said.
The precinct workers were in a good mood as they turned in their votes. There was a lot of good-natured teasing and talking, and laughter rang out several times as the votes were counted.