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Litz Fending off Detractors in Order to Fix Election Woes

There have been problems with elections in Minnehaha County over the past couple of cycles.  Auditor Bob Litz and his staff is addressing the problems.

The main beef with the Auditor being people unable to be sure about their polling place.  Litz acknowledges the mistakes and the resulting confusion.  The Secretary of State’s Office has converted to a new system and Minnehaha County was not fully adapted by the primary on June 3.  “(South Dakota) switched over to Total Vote and it’s going to be an awesome system when it’s finished.  More states are using it and it will help standardize elections across the United States.”

The old system was an amalgamation of databases at the county level and the state wanted to control the process a little more.  Litz says the State took Minnehaha County’s information.  The state processed it and what came back was not ready for prime time.  “When it came back, there were some mistakes in it.  I could honestly characterize it as a computer glitch.  For example take an address like 620 South Grange.  How you enter the word South in (the database makes a difference).”

Numerous combinations of the term South going into the computer list could radically alter the outcome.  Litz has discovered the process must be streamlined, so the designation for every street has to be the same to make the system work.  Following the previous example, every address must be S. Grange Avenue with no variations for So., South or even Ave. so as not to confuse the software.  “Total Vote needs to be very strict, very consistent and I think (the data) was all over the place.  Over the years, new things had gotten entered in differently by different people and as a result there were some errors.”

Litz and the County Auditor’s office has a mid-September deadline to have everything updated for absentee balloting which starts 6 weeks before the November 4 election.

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