South Dakota Senate committee defeats ban on mailing absentee ballot applications | Nathan Thompson/Rapid City Journal
A bill seeking to ban the secretary of state from automatically mailing absentee ballot applications failed Monday in the Senate State Affairs Committee. HB1126, sponsored by Rep. Drew Dennert, R-Aberdeen, and Sen. Brock Greenfield, R-Clark, would have outlawed the secretary of state’s office from mailing applications for an absentee ballot unless the voter requested it. Dennert said the bill was meant to add another layer of security for absentee voting and ensure more confidence in the process. “Historically, our absentee system has been a secure way to vote. However, many will agree the most secure form of voting is in person, and I believe we should encourage our citizens who are able to physically vote on election day or by in-person absentee when possible,” Dennert said. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the secretary of state’s office pre-emptively mailed out absentee ballot applications to all South Dakota voters for the 2020 elections. Secretary of State Steve Barnett said he wanted every registered voter in the state to have the opportunity to vote and encouraged people to cast their ballots by mail because of the pandemic.