Okay. The polling place was moved. Where's the beef. (or at least the statutory authority?)
Here's something I'm hearing rumblings about in the opening hours of the election evening. Can someone point out the statutory authority for Pennington County Auditor Julie Pearson to do this?
Read all of Bill Harlan's story in the Rapid City Journal here.
A dispute over a sign supporting Referred Law 6 -- the abortion ban -- has ended in the closing of a polling place at a Rapid City church.Hundreds of people who vote at the Open Bible Christian Center on East St. Patrick Street are being directed to three other polling places for Tuesday's election.
The move will affect some voters in legislative District 35.
County and church officials disagree over details of the dispute.
Pennington County Auditor Julie Pearson said she decided to shut down the Open Bible polling place late Thursday after the Rev. Les Potts refused to promise an election official that a campaign sign would be removed on Election Day.
Potts, however, said he learned of the dispute Friday from news media. “We’ve always complied with the law, and we’ve been a voting place for 12 years or more,” he said.
But Pearson insisted that county election supervisor Lori Severson spoke with Potts late Thursday afternoon. Pearson said she changed the poll location only after she could not get an assurance the sign at Open Bible would be removed.
“We’re not saying they were breaking the law,” Pearson emphasized.
The sign urging a “yes” vote on Referred Law 6 was more than 100 feet from the polling place and would have complied with state law. The sign was, however, on Open Bible property. Pearson said county policy requires owners of polling places to either ban all signs on that property or allow all signs. (my emphasis)
So we're confusing things for a precinct full of voters because someone decided it was against county policy? This goes hand in hand with the mess of the Pennington County Absentee Voter List being available only in a single unuseable format.
I heard people of both parties are miffed about that one.
Could this signal the start of a rift between the Republican Pennington County Auditor's office and the party that elected her as their candidate? Maybe. Maybe not. But it might start the drumbeat for change. Julie isn't always known for working well with others, as evidenced by her dropping out of the South Dakota Association of County Officials for a year or so. (She did eventually come back, and pay her dues to be part of the org again).
I'm sure there will be more to come on this one.