Hazeltine: Place absentee ballots in box after polls close

Hazeltine: Place absentee ballots in box after polls close In a news conference Oct. 28, Secretary of State Joyce Hazeltine made the following statement:

"It is the duty of the secretary of state and local county auditors to insure that every legally registered voter has an opportunity to cast their ballot and have their vote counted on election day. This year that task has been complicated by actions that challenge our election system by introducing fraud into the voter registration and absentee voting process.

"County auditors and law enforcement officials on both the state and federal level are working hard to make sure that the results of the election which will be conducted on Nov. 5 are not tainted and that every legally registered voter can participate in that election. To that end, I have asked our county auditors to modify within the confines of state law the procedure used to process absentee ballots on election day.

"A situation has been uncovered in the current absentee ballot fraud investigation which could preclude a legally registered voter from voting if someone has fraudulently applied for an absentee ballot under that voter's name.

"Normally absentee ballots are placed in the ballot box throughout election day as election workers have time to process those ballots. We are asking county auditors to direct their election workers to not place any absentee ballots in the ballot box until after the polls have closed. This will allow any voter who may have had an absentee ballot fraudulently requested for them to vote in person and have their vote count. All legally cast absentee ballots will be placed in the ballot box and counted.

"The obvious result of taking this action will be to delay the counting of all ballots on election night. I believe that this delay will be slight and will be a small price to pay to ensure that each legally registered voter's ballot can be cast and counted.

"I urge every registered voter in South Dakota to go to their polling place on Nov. 5 and cast their ballot."

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