Supporters of a proposed ballot measure that would allow South Dakota counties to switch to elections conducted entirely by mail ballot aim to put the initiative before voters next year, the sponsor said Friday. Backers are waiting for approval to start gathering signatures to appear on the 2018 ballot. Sponsor Drey Samuelson said the vote-at-home plan would help people cast an informed vote, increase election turnout and save taxpayer money. “We’re very serious about it,” said Samuelson, a co-founder of initiative group TakeItBack.Org. “We’re going to get this on the ballot, and I’m confident that we’ll pass it.”
Under the proposal, county commissioners could vote to dispense with polling places and require primary, special and general elections to be conducted via mail ballot. Ahead of an election, officials would send each registered voter a ballot that could be returned by mail or dropped off at a designated facility in the county.
The initiative would also allow county auditors to designate precincts with fewer than 200 registered voters as mail ballot precincts without the authorization of a county board.
Samuelson said in counties that adopted the system, it would allow voters to sit at their kitchen table and talk to a spouse or do research online while voting. It would also help voters in rural counties and save money because it’s expensive to set up precinct-based elections, he said.