Registered to vote yet?

Registered to vote yet? by David Lias If you haven't registered for the upcoming June 1 special election, you still have time.

But just barely.

According to South Dakota Secretary of State Chris Nelson, the deadline for registration is 15 days before any election.

That means voters' registration cards must be received by County Auditor Ruth Bremer by May 17 for citizens in Clay County to participate in the Vermillion city election, the county commission election, and the special congressional election on June 1.

People who haven't yet registered have a variety of option available. Registration forms are available 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.

Voters may also mail-in their registrations with cards from the county auditor's office, or they may download a registration form from the secretary of state's Web site at www.sdsos.gov.

ID required at polls

Voters will be required to provide identification when they obtain an absentee ballot or visit the polls June 1. This is a substantial change in South Dakota's voter procedure.

The personal identification that may be presented shall either be:


* A South Dakota driver's license on nondriver identification card;


* A passport or an identification card, including a picture, issued by an agency of the U.S. government;


* A tribal identification card, including a picture; or


* An identification card, including a picture, issued by an accredited institution of higher education, including a university, college or technical school, located within South Dakota.

If a voter is not able to provide personal identification, the voter may complete an affidavit in lieu of the personal identification.

Provisional ballots

If any person is not authorized to vote, is successfully challenged, or is otherwise denied the ability to vote and the person maintains that he or she is currently registered to vote, the person may cast a provisional ballot.

The voter must complete an affirmation for a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots are not counted on election night. The person in charge of the election will investigate the following day to determine if that voter was properly registered in that precinct.

If the information found determines that the voter was properly registered, the provisional ballot will be counted.

The voter will receive notification of whether his/her provisional ballot was counted, and will receive an explanation if it isn't counted.

Absentee voting high

Nelson reports that as the primary and congressional election draws near, absentee voting is in high gear.�

The deadline to request an absentee ballot application is June 1, at 3 p.m.�All ballots need to be back to the county auditor in order to get to their polling place by 7 p.m. on June 1.

"This is the first year that people can absentee vote without providing an excuse. Voters also need to send in a copy of their picture ID or have their application notarized before the county auditor can send or give them a ballot," Nelson said.

Continued on page 16

City election

Vermillion voters will decide a variety of races, ranging from mayor and alderman to U.S. representative.

Incumbent Mayor Roger Kozak is being challenged for by Central Ward Alderman Dan Christopherson.

Jon P. Callahan and Kent L. Osborne are vying for the upcoming vacancy on the council from the Northeast Ward.

Former Northwest Ward alderman Joe Grause will attempt to win back his position on the city council in a race with incumbent Alderman John (Jack) Powell.

A new face is guaranteed to sit on the city council after the election representing the Central Ward. Roger Jeck, who unsuccessfully ran for mayor two years ago, and former longtime state legislator Mary Edelen, who was defeated in her bid for the city council by Christopherson in 2002, hope to be chosen by voters to represent the ward.

Jere Chapman, who lost his bid for re-election to the city council as Southeast Ward alderman in 2002, is challenging the man who defeated him � incumbent Ray Hofman.

Vermillion School Board

There will be no election for Vermillion School Board in June to fill two vacancies.

Incumbent Nick Merrigan will seek re-election. Floyd Boschee has decided not to return to the board after his term ends. Chris Girard has filed nominating petitions, and will replace Boschee on the board.

Clay County

Republicans will choose three candidates filing for the three at-large Clay County Commission seats. The GOP hopefuls include incumbents Mary Jensen of Gayville and William Willroth Sr. of Vermillion and newcomers Colin Olsen and Paul Jensen, both of Wakonda.

The three Democratic candidates advancing to the general election are incumbent Ralph Westergaard of Burbank and challengers Leo Powell and Rodney Nelsen, both of Vermillion.

Incumbents filing without opposition were Republican Tami Bern of Burbank for state's attorney and Democrat Catherine Powell of Vermillion for treasurer.

No candidates filed for coroner, currently held by Alton Siecke of Vermillion.

District 17 House

Candidates from both the Republican and Democratic parties will advance to the November general election as they seek District 17's offices in the South Dakota House of Representatives.

Democrats James D. Johnson and former state Sen. John (Joe) Reedy, both of Vermillion, and Republicans Jamie M. Boomgarden, Chancellor, and incumbent Donna Schafer, Vermillion, will be on the November ballot hoping to get elected to the two seats in Pierre.

Reedy couldn't seek re-election to the South Dakota Senate because of term limits.

District 17 Senate

Republicans voters in District 17 will be asked to decide between former state Rep. Judy Clark and James Larsen, both of Vermillion, to be their party's candidate in the district's state senate race.

Either Clark or Larsen will face Democrat B.J. Nesselhuf, Vermillion, in November.

Nesselhuf currently serves District 17 in the state House, and hopes to be elected to the state Senate.

U.S. Representative

The vacancy caused in the U.S. House of Representatives by Bill Janklow's resignation in January following his manslaughter conviction will be filled following a June 1 special House election.

Democratic Stephanie Herseth, Brookings, who unsuccessfully ran for the office against Janklow in 2002, will face Republican Larry Diedrich, a former state legislator from Elkton.

The winner of the June vote will complete Janklow's term, which is scheduled to end in December.

So despite the outcome of this race, it's likely that Herseth and Diedrich will face each once again in November's general election to win a new term in the House.

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