Errors on list of Rapid City polling places causes confusion for voters

 A woman fills out a ballot at Atonement Lutheran Church. (KOTA TV)
A woman fills out a ballot at Atonement Lutheran Church. (KOTA TV) (KOTA)
Published: Jun. 4, 2019 at 11:34 PM CDT
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A list of polling places on the City of Rapid City website listed two locations that turned out to be incorrect voting precincts.

After receiving calls and text messages from friends in the morning, Karissa Lowen found out the Oyate Center by Lakota Homes was closed. However, earlier Tuesday it was listed as a polling location on the city of Rapid City's website.

As a campaign manager for Ramona Herrington, Lowen had planned on driving people there to vote.

Lowen was confused and said she went to the Pennington County Auditor's Office to ask what happened.

"They showed me a list of polling places that was different than the one I had on my phone. So, we we're comparing the differences and they said well why do you have that one and we have this one. We looked into it and I said well mines is off the city website and they were looking off of the county's website cause the auditor is run by the county," Lowen said.

Darell Shoemaker with the city of Rapid City says the Auditor's Office notified them midday about two errors on the polling list.

One error listed First Assembly Church as a polling location for Ward 1. The website now correctly lists Parkview Church.

The other error was the Oyate Center listed as a voting center for Ward 4. However, it was actually switched to Atonement Lutheran Church.

Shoemaker said both the city and the county websites were updated with new links to the correct polling places.

Now the voting precinct 4-3 and 4-5 are at the Atonement Lutheran Church. Some argue that the people who live by the Oyate Center are now at a disadvantage by having to travel a little further to vote.

"And then put it two miles away into a White community where they are not going to feel comfortable going anyway. It may be a two mile walk but why take it when you can walk next door to vote and then change it where you need to take a bus in order to go vote," Four Directions Co-Executive Director OJ Semans said.

However, Shoemaker said it's a good thing people were able to catch the errors earlier in the day, and that officials plan to consolidate information in the future to prevent similar errors.

"Moving forward to make it more consistent, I think the plan will be perhaps to just link up with the auditor's office directly so it's kind of a one stop shop to get voting information," Shoemaker said.

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