Editorial by the Plain Talk We encourage anyone of voting age who has not yet registered to vote to do so at once.

We also urge citizens to use a bit of caution.

There apparently is at least one individual in Vermillion who is in the "business" of signing up people to vote.

Jim Dietrieck told us Monday that he makes a couple bucks every time a citizen completes a voter registration form.

That's about all he would tell us. He wouldn't reveal who his employer is. A poster on his card table, located near the entrance of Hy-Vee, listed a Web site address.

Attempts to get information on the Internet, however, are futile. Log on to that address and you get a page that is "still under construction."

Secretary of State Chris Nelson notes that there is no state law to prohibit Dietrieck's activities.

In other words, his activities in Vermillion aren't illegal.

But Dietrieck (if that is his real name) raises suspicion in a number of ways.

We don't know why he's reluctant to say who is paying him to register voters. In fact, after telling us his name and revealing that he does get remuneration for each voter registration, he clammed up.

Maybe we're a bit too cynical or skeptical, or both.

We can't imagine, however, why someone who is in the act of providing a public service is so secretive about it.

Our fears may be completely unfounded. Let's just say at this time, however, we don't have a good feeling about Dietrieck's activities in Vermillion.

Since he wouldn't tell us who is working for, we can only imagine that his employer will eventually receive the voter registration forms filled out at Dietrick's card table, which he had placed near a high foot traffic area in the city.

Dietrick will likely get paid for each form he turns in. There's no guarantee, however, that the paperwork filled out by local citizens at Dietrieck's booth will eventually be filed with the proper authorities.

That's why we encourage citizens who need to register to take a more tried and true route.

There are plenty of ways to become eligible to vote before the upcoming elections that are much safer than counting on a complete stranger who appears to be in it only for the money.

You may register at the following locations:

* County auditor's office.

* City finance office.

* Driver's license station.

* Public assistance agencies providing food stamps, TANF or WIC.

* Department of Human Services offices which provide assistance to the disabled.

* Military recruitment offices.

* Mail-in registration with cards from the county auditor's office.

Citizens may also download a registration form from the South Dakota Secretary of State's Web site: http://www.sdsos.gov/vote/ or, fill-out the on-line form, print it and send to the county auditor's office.�

To register to vote in South Dakota, you must:

* Be a United States citizen.

* Reside in South Dakota.

* Be at least 18 years old on or before the next election.

* Not currently serving a sentence for a felony conviction which included imprisonment, served or suspended, in an adult penitentiary system.

* Not be judged mentally incompetent by a court of law.

Two years ago, we learned that, yes, every vote does count when the the U.S. Senate race between Tim Johnson and John Thune was decided by less than 600 votes.

Make sure that you will be able to participate in the upcoming local and state elections.

Register to vote with an office, agency, and individual you trust.

The Vermillion Plain Talk editorials reflect the opinion of Plain Talk editor David Lias. You may contact him at david.lias@plaintalk.net

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