Record number of absentee ballots returned in Sioux Falls

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The city clerk in Sioux Falls says a record number of absentee ballots have been returned ahead of the June 2 election.

About 14,500 absentee ballots have been mailed to voters so far, and nearly 6,230 have been returned, the Argus Leader reported.

By comparison, there were about 6,600 absentee ballots combined cast in 2018 between the regular election and runoff election that decided the mayoral race.

City Clerk Tom Greco said the high number is the result of a decision by the Secretary of State’s Office to send absentee ballot applications to all registered voters in South Dakota in late April.

Also, not having to go to the polls on Election Day provided a level of comfort for voters concerned about contracting the coronavirus, Greco said.

“It definitely did have an appreciable impact, particularly because they sent the postage paid envelope,” he said. “Before, my concern that I had was the impact on voter participation because at the time people weren’t thinking about the election.”

The city election also coincides with the South Dakota primary election.