A task force report issued Friday by South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant says Davison County’s ballot scanner is “100 percent accurate.” That means human error by the Davison County Auditor’s Office, which is led by Auditor Susan Kiepke, herself an elected official, was the culprit in a June 5 miscount that left the county’s primary election results in doubt for several days. “My statement to South Dakota voters,” Gant said in an interview following the issuance of the report, “is that the machines we use to count our ballots are 100 percent accurate.”
Kiepke said Friday afternoon she was busy making preparations to attend a convention and hadn’t yet had time to thoroughly read the report. She acknowledged some of the report’s conclusions but also claimed it contains some misinformation. Does she acknowledge that the miscount was due to human error? “Yes, absolutely,” Kiepke said, “but I still believe the machine had a glitch.”
An analysis of the M650 scanner’s audit log by a technician from Omaha-based Election Systems & Software, the machine’s manufacturer, determined ballots from Precinct 8 were accidentally fed through the machine twice. Gant said the M650 proved accurate during the Aug. 31 meeting of his Ballot Counting Task Force in Mitchell. That day, test ballots were scanned using Davison County’s M650 scanner-tabulator and another M650 owned by Minnehaha County.