Pennington County sets record for early voting in primary election

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) We won't know until Tuesday who the winners are in this election but one thing seems certain: There will be a lot of votes to count.

That's because the early voting numbers are high. Very high.

"Early voting number have been phenomenal this year," said Pennington County Auditor Julie Pearson.

Some of the high early voting numbers might be because more citizens are getting used to the idea.

"Well, it's just easy," said Lori Raczynski of Rapid City who cast her ballot Monday at the Pennington County Administration Building. "I had a few minutes today so I thought I'd just come in and get it done. I came in, you just walk up, hardly any wait and got it done."

And it also could be hot button issue on the ballot like the Civic Center issue facing Rapid City voters.

"From what we're hearing from the voters it's the city issue," driving the participation, said Pearson.

Added Raczynski: "The main issue was the Civic center expansion."

And election officials are optimistic the early numbers translate into solid overall participation.

"We're hoping we'll hit a record for a gubernatorial election back as far as 2000 for turnout," said Pearson. "We're estimating that we'll probably count as many as 25,000 to 30,000 ballots which would be between 35 and 38 percent turnout which would be a great record for a non presidential primary."

The numbers? 6,697 Pennington County voters cast early ballots this election setting a new all-time record for any primary vote.