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SD task force will study emergency issues in elections

PIERRE (AP) - South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant is forming a task force to address election options during emergencies, such as the three-day snow and ice storm that hit the state in April and postponed 30 local elections.

The task force will evaluate the decisions made by governing bodies that either postponed or continued with those April 9 elections.

"In the conversations I have had with folks who have worked elections, no one could remember a time when 30 elections were postponed," Gant said during a recent Downtown Rotary Club meeting in Sioux Falls. "We need to be proactive in dealing with issues. We need to see what worked, what didn't work."

Gant also wants to see if state law can be made more specific on how to deal with different types of emergencies that might occur during an election, everything from a water-pipe break to a debilitating storm.

Bridgewater was hit hard by the April ice storm, but voting still occurred because of planning to have emergency generators available, McCook County Auditor Geralyn Sherman said.

"I'd be interested to see what (the task force) comes up with to help, because I don't really know what else needs to be done," Sherman said.