No straight party ballots for election

No straight party ballots for election Secretary of State Joyce Hazeltine reminds voters that the general election ballot will not have a straight-party voting option.

Voters will need to vote on each race individually.

"I want voters to remember that it may take a few minutes more to mark their ballots November 3," Hazeltine said. "You can still vote for all the candidates in one party, if you wish," she said. "but you will have to vote for each individual candidate on your ballot."

Hazeltine said straight party voting was eliminated by the legislature in 1997 at her request because of concerns that it was confusing.

"I talked with people who were marking their ballots Republican or Democrat simply because they were registered in that party and thought they were voting a straight ballot, unless they crossed over and voted for individual candidates."

Hazeltine said she realizes some South Dakota voters will be surprised that the option of straight party balloting is not available, but she hopes it will encourage voters to study the candidate issues they represent.

Hazeltine also reminds voters that any extra mark on a ballot that is not part of the voting process means the ballot cannot be counted. This eliminates the possibility of write-in candidates, Hazeltine said.

"If a voter inadvertently marks their ballot incorrectly," Hazeltine said, "they should ask for a replacement ballot."

Anyone with voting questions may call the Office of the Secretary of State on their toll free line at 1-888-70ELECT.

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