Election Review Committee completes recommended guidelines

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SIOUX FALLS - Long lines, wrong ballots, and missing names at the polls.

Many voters haven't forgotten those and other problems faced during the 2014 elections.

The Minnehaha County Election Review Committee hopes to fix those issues with a list of guidelines they hope will prevent a repeat with future elections.

The committee took a vote on several recommendations to prevent more problems at the polls.

Voter Theresa Stehl said "we've had voting centers moved about with every election. We've had reports of absentee ballots being sent to the wrong person, people don't know where they're supposed to be voting, so i'm really glad we're taking a look at this."

Voter Scott Ehrisman said "I've been voting absentee here at the administration building for probably the last five years simply because I don't know where to go vote, and where my precinct is because it changes so much."

A recent change in election technology also requires changing the color of the ballot stamps used by poll workers.

Pennington County Auditor Julie Pearson said "if it violates any of the read areas on a ballot, the scanners were picking that up, because we were using red ink, which we had used on the older scanners and we were using that red ink and it violates it, so the scanner was spitting the ballot out."

The Minnehaha County Election Review Committee established a set of recommendations so everyone involved is on the same page when it comes to election time.

Minnehaha County Election Review Committee chairman Bruce Danielson said "by having the county auditor's office prepare procedures manual on how to handle certain situation, it becomes institutional knowledge in a book, rather than in someone's memory banks somewhere. That will help a lot."

Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz said "if we're successful implementing these things, and things, circumstances go well for us on the election, they're going to help, they're definitely going to help."

"There seems to be not just a lot of work to be done here in Minnehaha County, but it seems like the Secretary of State has a lot of work to do with the new administration to fix some of the problems they were having," Ehrisman said.

One issue with the 2014 elections was in compiling voter registration information supplied from Minnehaha County to the Secretary of State's office, which computer systems made changes to voters records unbeknownst to the county auditor's office.

Those discrepancies caused many of the frustrations for voters at the polls, such as missing name's from poll books, or voters receiving the wrong ballot.

The new administration in the Secretary of State's office has a plan to solve that problem.

Deputy Secretary of State for Election Services Kea Warne said "a report can be produced can be provided to each county auditor when the send over a voter file, that will list what the address field was before, and what it is after."