Despite few reported problems with voting centers during South Dakota’s recent primary election, lofty setup costs and logistics are slowing the expansion of the system that replaces residents’ precincts. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, South Dakota is one of 10 states that let counties adopt the alternative system. They rely on an electronic check-in process that gives voters the flexibility of visiting one of several locations in the county. Seven counties used the centers in the primary. Research indicates that the centers save money in the long run, said Wendy Underhill, a program manager with the National Conference of State Legislatures. But skeptics argue implementation of the system could be pricey.
Electronic poll book set-ups cost around $2,000 each, including a scanner, a laptop with touch screen and a signature pad, Secretary of State Jason Gant said. During the primary, voters in some counties were able to use the centers in conjunction with a Vote605 app, which gives them a ballot preview and detailed instructions for getting to the polls.
As a state senator in 2010, Gant sponsored legislation to allow voting centers in the state and continues to support and promote them. He said seven counties have the centers and a few more are considering it.
Full Article: Costs, logistics slow SD voting center expansion.