Officials with the Davison County Auditor’s Office say they are prepared to accommodate in-person voting when people head to the polls Tuesday for the 2020 General Election.
“Everything is going well,” said Susan Kiepke, auditor for Davison County.
While exercising the right to vote is a time-honored tradition, there will be changes to that tradition this year due to the outbreak of COVID-19. The respiratory disease arrived earlier in 2020 and has disrupted life on practically every level and infections continue to mount around the county.
The outbreak caused Davison County officials to consolidate the usual three or four polling places in the county down to one: The Davison County Fairgrounds. Davison County residents will be able to vote in person using one of the 16 voting booths, two of which are set up to accommodate handicapped voters, Kiepke said.
The one location will better allow election officials to control the flow of people in and out of the facility this year, she said.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and voters should bring a government-issued photo identification with them to vote.
“A driver's license is the most popular, but they can also use a passport or tribal identification, as well as a student identification if it is issued by a South Dakota state institution,” Kiepke said.
With interest in the 2020 election at a high, Kiepke said voters have been casting absentee ballots at a very high rate. That should help keep long lines and crowding at the fairgrounds relatively low.
“We’ve had so many vote absentee this election, that I don’t anticipate there will be lines and lines of people at the fairgrounds,” Kiepke said.
The booths will be laid out to allow for social distancing, and PPE equipment has been installed to help ensure the safety of voters and poll workers.
She noted that there is an option for certain voters who may not be able to come to the polls and who did not vote by absentee ballot to still have their vote counted. A registered voter who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and was planning to vote in person can request a form that will allow them to have an authorized messenger deliver their ballot to them. After they complete their ballot, the messenger will take the ballot to be counted.
Kiepke said she has had many calls requesting more information on the option.
“That is one thing they can do,” Kiepke said.
She encouraged anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 seeking more information about using a messenger to vote to contact the Davison County Auditor's Office at 995-8608.