Lawmakers approve changes untouched for counties on voter confirmation process

January 26, 2018 GMT

PIERRE | The state Senate gave final legislative approval Thursday to changes Secretary of State Shantel Krebs seeks for South Dakota’s voter-confirmation process.

The 32-0 vote sends HB 1011 to the governor’s desk for Dennis Daugaard’s decision whether it becomes law.

The proposal didn’t attract a nay its entire way through the legislative process, via two committees, the House and the Senate, where it passed on the consent calendar.

There weren’t any amendments either.

The process currently calls for county auditors to check every odd-numbered year for registered voters who haven’t been active in the previous four years. The auditors take a series of steps for those voters between Jan. 1 and Nov. 15.

That part of the process doesn’t change. HB 1011 formally establishes two requirements.

What they are

First, a county auditor would send a national change of address notice to each voter in the active file who has failed to vote in the previous four years.

This section covers voters who haven’t updated registration information, haven’t replied to a confirmation mailing at least once in the previous four years and haven’t had a change of address with the U.S. Post Office.

The second section covers what are known as confirmation mailing notices. The legislation says the notice is a double postcard explaining the voter’s registration may be canceled if the card isn’t signed and returned.

There will be other information on the postcard about changing the address and re-registering if the voter moved to another county or state.

Kea Warne, the deputy secretary of state for elections, presented the bill Wednesday to the Senate Local Government Committee.

The panel voted 6-0 to recommend passage on a motion made by Sen. Ryan Maher, R-Isabel, and seconded by Sen. Kevin Killer, D-Pine Ridge.


South Dakota has a chapter of state laws for television translator districts. The laws were passed in 1976. Most haven’t been touched since. The single round of changes came in 1979. Now Rep. John Lake, R-Gettysburg, wants to modernize the process county commissions use for getting out of the districts.

HB 1169 would replace what’s now in law. Currently, 51 percent of the voters in a district can petition the district’s board of trustees to ask the local county commission to abandon the district. Then the commissioners must immediately dissolve the district.

Lake’s proposal calls for the county commissioners to hold at least one public hearing and then, by resolution, order that the district be dissolved. The House Local Government hasn’t publicly scheduled a hearing yet. The Senate lead sponsor is Justin Cronin, R-Gettysburg.

The law defines translators as “any facility within this state which is operated to receive and amplify the signals broadcast by one or more television stations and redistribute the signals by appropriate broadcasting means but shall not include redistribution of signals by wire or cable.”

Sunsetting daylight

Among the dozens of new measures filed Wednesday was one to leave South Dakota’s clock-hands alone.

Rep. Isaac Latterell, R-Tea, asks the Legislature to exempt South Dakota from observing daylight savings time. It would affect central and mountain time zones. Some places elsewhere in the nation already do this.

HB 1179 is assigned to the House Transportation Committee. A hearing date isn’t yet publicly set. Should it win approval in the House, its lead Senate sponsor is Phil Jensen, R-Rapid City.

Always Isaac

Latterell was a Republican legislative candidate who ran several times from Brown County without success. He started winning after he moved to the Sioux Falls area.

Latterell however did capture the 2006 Republican Senate nomination for the legislative district that covered parts of Brown and McPherson counties. He knocked Duane Sutton of Aberdeen from the Senate and opened the way for Democrat Al Hoerth to win the seat. Sutton had served two years in the House and six years in the Senate before the loss. Hoerth served two years.

Latterell won election to the House in 2012 from Minnehaha County. He is serving his sixth year as a representative.

Sutton returned to politics, winning election as a Brown County commissioner. He represented the South Dakota Association of County Commissioners last year on the Legislature’s initiative and referendum task force.

Bob Sutton, a brother who now lives in Sioux Falls, is president for the state Board of Regents whose members govern South Dakota’s public universities and special schools