Rapid City attorney explains how to safeguard elections

A presentation was shown to the Pennington County board of commissioners on how to make...
A presentation was shown to the Pennington County board of commissioners on how to make elections safer.(Humberto Giles-Sanchez)
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 8:36 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Tuesday the Pennington County Board of Commissioners received some recommendations on election laws that could help eliminate what some see as a grey area.

Words matter and the way a law is worded can impact how the law is implemented. A local attorney presented some suggestions to the Pennington County Commission on ways the state could tighten election laws.

“There are suggestions that I have for the Secretary of State Office when working with those vendors that are supplying that equipment to make sure, to ensure, for the confidence of the people in South Dakota, that those machines cannot go online, not just that they ‘may not’ but they cannot,” said GPNA law firm attorney Sara Frankenstein.

She added that even fixing some residency requirements would alleviate trust issues in South Dakota communities.

“There are issues with people, rightfully so, upset about residency requirements that aren’t there to require people to change their address to the address they live in,” said Frankenstein.

More points were made about ways South Dakota could make more changes to secure election laws, even more, she added that another way to fix it would be to add more emphasis on what would happen if the laws in place are broken.

“South Dakota has some ways that we can certainly improve, but all-in-all South Dakota’s election laws are fairly strong, and we’ve avoided the implications that other states have had to suffer through,” said Frankenstein.

The county commissioners found common ground with Frankenstein and hopes that some of the suggestions would help make South Dakota laws stronger.

“As Ms. Frankenstein suggested, working with the state election board and making sure that they understand the recommendations that are coming,” said Pennington County Board of Commissioners chair Gary Drewes, “Hopefully, they will recommend some minor changes but keep tuning those laws to make them stronger if needed.”

The next county commission session involving the South Dakota midterm elections is on Wednesday, Oct. 26.

Early voting, both in person and through an absentee ballot, is available up until the day before the election.

The deadline to register to vote in this year’s Midterm Election is Monday, Oct. 24th.

Election day is Nov. 8.