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CHAPTER 12-19

ABSENTEE VOTING

12-19-1      Absentee ballot--Persons entitled to vote.
12-19-1.1      Affirmation of address by voter in inactive registration file.
12-19-1.2      Time for absentee voting.
12-19-2      Application for absentee ballot--Contents--Address to which ballot sent--Stamping date of receipt--Delivery.
12-19-2.1      Application in person or by authorized messenger--Delivery of ballot to messenger or by mail.
12-19-2.2      Authorized messenger for more than one voter.
12-19-2.3      Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act--Application or request for absentee ballot.
12-19-2.4      Multiple applications or requests for ballots and multiple ballots--Application.
12-19-2.5      Form of application for absentee ballot and combined application/return envelope.
12-19-2.6      Preference and selection of ballot style for independent in primary election.
12-19-3      Forwarding of ballot to voter--Instructions and return envelope.
12-19-4      Voter's statement on return envelope--Federal service voting forms.
12-19-5      Mailing of ballot and enclosures to voter--Free air mail for federal service voters.
12-19-6      Repealed.
12-19-7      Marking and folding ballot--Officer before whom marked--Mailing or delivering ballot.
12-19-7.1      Candidates and election officials not to serve as authorized messenger.
12-19-7.2      Display of campaign material by messenger as misdemeanor.
12-19-8      Repealed.
12-19-9      Delivery of absentee ballot--Personal delivery when transmission time insufficient--Receipt.
12-19-9.1      Nursing facility, assisted living center, or hospital having multiple absentee ballot requests.
12-19-9.2      Marking and return of ballot on death of voter before opening of polls.
12-19-10      Preservation and delivery of ballot to precinct superintendent--Comparison of statement and application--Deposit in ballot box--Unopened ballots--Unauthorized examination as misdemeanor.
12-19-11      Preservation and return of application and return envelope.
12-19-12      Delivery of absentee ballot to polling place after close of polls.
12-19-13      Repealed.
12-19-14      Unlawful disposition of ballot or ballot link as misdemeanor.
12-19-15 to 12-19-22.      Repealed.
12-19-23      Repealed.
12-19-24 to 12-19-31.      Repealed.
12-19-32      Ballot not invalidated by federal censorship.
12-19-33      Failure to deliver or tampering with ballot as felony.
12-19-34      Informalities do not invalidate election--Liberal construction.
12-19-35, 12-19-36.      Repealed.
12-19-37      Absentee ballot precincts--Creation--Absentee ballot counting board.
12-19-38      Appointment of absentee ballot counting board--Number of members.
12-19-39      Oath of board members--Compensation.


12-19-40      Repealed.
12-19-41      Powers and duties of absentee ballot counting board.
12-19-42      Envelope containing voted ballots kept closed--Delivery to county board.
12-19-43      Review of absentee voters' affidavits prior to closing of polls--Counting or processing of ballots.
12-19-44      Counting process open.
12-19-45      Record of applicants' names, addresses, and voting precincts--Delivery to counting board--Record of authorized messengers.
12-19-46      Commencement of count when polls close--Place.
12-19-47      Processing of absentee ballots.
12-19-48      Delivery of absentee ballot after polls are closed.
12-19-49      Death of absentee voter prior to opening of polls--Ballot returned to person in charge--Election not invalidated by casting of ballot.
12-19-50      Forms for recording tally--Special pollbook--Tally added to home precinct totals.
12-19-51      Repealed.
12-19-52      Electronic voting systems.
12-19-53      Contracting for services of county auditor from another county.
12-19-54      Payment for assisting voters based on number of voters assisted prohibited--Violation as misdemeanor.
12-19-55      Receipt of payment for assisting voters based on number of voters assisted prohibited--Violation as misdemeanor.


     12-19-1.   Absentee ballot--Persons entitled to vote. A registered voter who is not otherwise disqualified by law from voting in the election may vote by absentee ballot.

Source: SDC 1939, § 16.0606; SL 1944 (SS), ch 2, § 1; SL 1953, ch 75, § 1; SL 1957, ch 85, § 1; SDC Supp 1960, § 16.0610; SL 1963, ch 110, § 1; SL 1967, ch 72; SDCL, §§ 12-19-15 to 12-19-17; SL 1972, ch 90, § 1; SL 1974, ch 118, § 133; SL 1980, ch 115, § 1; SL 1983, ch 112; SL 1993, ch 116, § 1; SL 2003, ch 82, § 6.


     12-19-1.1.   Affirmation of address by voter in inactive registration file. A voter in the inactive registration file meeting the criteria in § 12-19-1 may vote absentee by completing the affirmation required in § 12-18-7.4.

Source: SL 1994, ch 107, § 31; SL 2002, ch 40, § 17.


     12-19-1.2.   Time for absentee voting. Absentee voting shall begin neither earlier nor later than forty-six days prior to the election including any voter identified as being covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff-1).

Source: SL 2013, ch 66, § 2.


     12-19-2.   Application for absentee ballot--Contents--Address to which ballot sent--Stamping date of receipt--Delivery. An absentee voter desiring to vote by mail may apply to the person in charge of the election for an absentee ballot. The application or request shall be made in writing, signed by the applicant, and shall contain the applicant's voter registration address. The application or request shall contain an oath verifying the validity of the information in the application or request. The oath shall be administered by a notary public or other officer authorized by this state to administer an oath or administered by an out-of-state notary public. If the application or request does not contain an oath, the application or request shall be accompanied by a copy of the voter's identification card as required by § 12-18-6.1. The copy of the voter's identification card shall be maintained by the person in charge of the election pursuant to § 12-20-31. However, the voter's identification card is not available for public inspection. The application or request may be used to obtain an absentee ballot for all elections in that calendar year conducted by the jurisdiction receiving the application or request if so indicated. The ballot shall be sent to the voter's residence, as shown in the voter registration file or any temporary residence address designated in writing by the voter, at the time of applying for the absentee ballot. If the application or request is from a voter identified as being covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff-1) as of January 1, 2010, the voter may designate on the application for the ballot to be sent electronically pursuant to this section through the system provided by the Office of the Secretary of State. The person in charge of the election shall stamp the application with the date it was received. The person in charge of the election shall preserve a record of the name, mailing address, and voting precinct of each applicant and, except as provided by § 12-19-45, deliver a copy of the record to the superintendent of the election board of the home precinct of the applicant.

Source: SDC 1939, § 16.0606; SL 1944 (SS), ch 2, § 3; SL 1957, ch 85, §§ 2, 3; SDC Supp 1960, §§ 16.0611, 16.0612; SL 1963, ch 110, § 1; SL 1964, ch 59; SL 1967, ch 72; SDCL §§ 12-19-22, 12-19-24, 12-19-25; SL 1974, ch 118, § 134; SL 1976, ch 105, § 61; SL 1976, ch 108, § 10; SL 1980, ch 115, § 2; SL 1983, ch 113; SL 1984, ch 111; SL 1988, ch 132; SL 1992, ch 115, § 1; SL 1993, ch 116, § 2; SL 2002, ch 40, § 18; SL 2003, ch 82, § 3; SL 2003, ch 83, § 14; SL 2004, ch 109, § 1; SL 2006, ch 72, § 1; SL 2010, ch 74, § 14; SL 2014, ch 72, § 1, eff. Feb. 19, 2014; SL 2017, ch 2, § 5.


     12-19-2.1.   Application in person or by authorized messenger--Delivery of ballot to messenger or by mail. At anytime prior to an election, a voter may apply in person at the office of and to the person in charge of the election for an absentee ballot during regular office hours up to 5:00 p.m. on the day before the election. If the voter applies in person, the voter shall complete a combined absentee ballot application/return envelope and show the person in charge of the election the voter's identification card as required in § 12-18-6.1 or complete the affidavit as provided in § 12-18-6.2.
     In the event of confinement because of sickness or disability, a qualified voter may apply pursuant to the provisions of § 12-19-2 in writing and obtain an absentee ballot by authorized messenger so designated over the signature of the voter. The person in charge of the election may deliver to the authorized messenger a ballot to be delivered to the qualified voter. Any application for a ballot by authorized messenger must be received by the person in charge of the election before 3:00 p.m. the day of the election. If the application designating an authorized messenger also indicates a request for an absentee ballot for any future election, such absentee ballot shall be mailed to the address provided on the application. If no address is provided, the ballot shall be mailed to the person's voter registration address.

Source: SL 1980, ch 115, § 3; SL 1983, ch 114; SL 2003, ch 82, § 4; SL 2005, ch 93, § 1; SL 2006, ch 72, § 3; SL 2012, ch 85, § 1; SL 2013, ch 66, § 3.


     12-19-2.2.   Authorized messenger for more than one voter. If a person is an authorized messenger for more than one voter, he must notify the person in charge of the election of all voters for whom he is a messenger.

Source: SL 1980, ch 115, § 4.


     12-19-2.3.   Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act--Application or request for absentee ballot. Any voter identified as being covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff-1) as of January 1, 2011, may submit an application or request for an absentee ballot by facsimile or emailed image to the person in charge of the election. The secretary of state may authorize a person in charge of an election to accept an application or request for absentee ballot pursuant to this section through the system provided by the Office of the Secretary of State.

Source: SL 2005, ch 93, § 3; SL 2011, ch 82, § 1.


     12-19-2.4.   Multiple applications or requests for ballots and multiple ballots--Application. If any voter who had previously filed an application or request for an absentee ballot submits another application or request for the same election with an updated address, the county auditor shall send an absentee ballot to the new address. If any voter who had previously filed an application or request for absentee ballot appears at the county auditor's office, the voter may complete another application and be allowed to vote an absentee ballot. If any voter who filed an application or request for absentee ballot notifies the county auditor that the voter never received that ballot, the voter may request that another ballot be sent to the same address. The provisions of this section only apply to a person who has not voted or returned an absentee ballot.

Source: SL 2005, ch 93, § 2.


     12-19-2.5.   Form of application for absentee ballot and combined application/return envelope. The State Board of Elections shall promulgate rules, pursuant to chapter 1-26, to prescribe the absentee application form and a combined absentee ballot application/return envelope for absentee voting in the office of the person in charge of the election. The application may be made by letter or upon any form containing the required information or upon any form prescribed by the State Board of Elections or the postcard form referred to in § 12-4-8.1, executed by any person authorized in accordance with the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA)(42 U.S.C. §  1973ff) as of January 1, 2006.

Source: SL 2006, ch 72, § 2.


     12-19-2.6.   Preference and selection of ballot style for independent in primary election. If an absentee voter in a primary election is registered as an independent and is eligible to vote more than one ballot style pursuant to § 12-6-26, the voter may specify the voter's ballot style preference on the absentee ballot application. If no ballot style is designated, the absentee voter shall be provided a nonpolitical ballot.
     If an absentee voter in a primary election is registered as an independent and is only eligible to vote one ballot style, the absentee voter shall be provided that ballot style. If more than one party allows independent voters to be eligible to vote in a primary election and no nonpolitical ballot is available and the absentee voter does not designate the ballot style to be received, no ballot may be provided to the absentee voter.

Source: SL 2010, ch 75, § 1, eff. Mar. 23, 2010.


     12-19-3.   Forwarding of ballot to voter--Instructions and return envelope. Upon receiving an application for absentee ballots, the person in charge of an election shall, within forty-eight hours, or if ballots are not then on hand, then within forty-eight hours after receipt of the ballots, after confirming from the master registration file that the applicant is registered as a voter pursuant to chapter 12-4, enclose one of each of the official ballots, a set of instructions on absentee balloting, and an unsealed return envelope. All of the enclosures shall be sealed in an envelope addressed to the applicant at the place stated in the application. If a registration form is received simultaneous with an absentee ballot request and prior to the registration deadline, the absentee ballot provided shall be based on the submitted registration form.

Source: SDC 1939, § 16.0606; SL 1963, ch 110, § 1; SL 1964, ch 59; SL 1967, ch 72; SL 1974, ch 118, § 135; SL 1976, ch 105, § 62; SL 1998, ch 78, § 3; SL 2002, ch 40, § 19; SL 2007, ch 75, § 4.


     12-19-4.   Voter's statement on return envelope--Federal service voting forms. The return envelope for the absent voter's ballot shall have printed on the reverse thereof a statement to be signed by the voter. The State Board of Elections shall prescribe the forms for the return envelope, ballots, instructions to the voter, and such certification to accommodate the federal service voter under the provisions of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA)(42 U.S.C. § 1973cc-1).

Source: SL 1944 (SS), ch 2, § 4; SL 1953, ch 75, § 3; SL 1955, ch 55, § 2; SL 1957, ch 85, § 4; SDC Supp 1960, § 16.0613; SDC 1939, § 16.0607 as added by SL 1965, ch 87; SL 1965, ch 88; SDCL, § 12-19-27; SL 1971, ch 93, § 1; SL 1974, ch 118, § 136; SL 1992, ch 115, § 2; SL 1993, ch 116, § 3.


     12-19-5.   Mailing of ballot and enclosures to voter--Free air mail for federal service voters. The envelope containing the enclosures, if not delivered to the voter personally by the person in charge of the election or the authorized messenger filing the voter's request for an absentee ballot, shall, except for federal service voters, be mailed by first class mail to the address of the applicant stated in his application, with postage prepaid thereon. Both the return envelope and the envelope for transmitting the enclosures to federal service voters shall meet the requirements of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA)(42 U.S.C. § 1973) and shall be transmitted by air mail, free of United States postage, including air mail.

Source: SL 1913, ch 200, § 1; SL 1917, ch 233, § 1; RC 1919, § 7226; SL 1919, ch 189; SL 1925, ch 159, § 1; SDC 1939, § 16.0606; SL 1944 (SS), ch 2, § 4; SL 1953, ch 75, § 3; SL 1955, ch 55, § 2; SL 1957, ch 85, § 4; SDC Supp 1960, § 16.0613; SL 1963, ch 110, § 1; SL 1964, ch 59; SL 1965, ch 88; SL 1967, ch 72; SDCL, § 12-19-27; SL 1974, ch 118, § 137; SL 1976, ch 105, § 63; SL 1979, ch 105, § 1; SL 1980, ch 115, § 5; SL 1993, ch 116, § 4.


     12-19-6.   Repealed by SL 1970, ch 91, § 4.


     12-19-7.   Marking and folding ballot--Officer before whom marked--Mailing or delivering ballot. A voter voting an absentee ballot shall mark it and fold it without revealing the marks to any other person. The voter shall place the voted ballots in the return envelope provided and seal the envelope. The voter shall sign the statement on the return envelope. The voter shall either mail the ballot, deliver it in person or have it delivered to the person in charge of the election.

Source: SL 1913, ch 200, § 2; SL 1917, ch 233, § 2; SL 1918 (SS), ch 45; RC 1919, § 7227; SL 1925, ch 159, § 2; SL 1929, ch 114, § 1; SDC 1939, § 16.0607; SL 1944 (SS), ch 2, § 5; SL 1953, ch 75, § 4; SL 1957, ch 85, § 5; SDC Supp 1960, § 16.0614; SL 1963, ch 110, § 2; SDCL, § 12-19-29; SL 1972, ch 90, § 2; SL 1974, ch 118, § 138; SL 1976, ch 105, § 64; SL 1983, ch 115; SL 1985, ch 115; SL 1992, ch 115, § 3.


     12-19-7.1.   Candidates and election officials not to serve as authorized messenger. No person who is a candidate for any elective office, except for political party offices described in § 12-5-2 or county auditor or such deputy, at the election for which the ballot or ballots are to be voted, may serve as an authorized messenger.

Source: SL 1972, ch 90, § 5; SL 1976, ch 105, § 65; SL 1992, ch 115, § 4.


     12-19-7.2.   Display of campaign material by messenger as misdemeanor. No authorized messenger may, in the presence of the voter at or before the time of voting, display campaign posters, signs, or other campaign materials or by any like means solicit any votes for or against any person, political party, or position on a question submitted. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Source: SL 1984, ch 112; SL 1992, ch 115, § 5.


     12-19-8.   Repealed by SL 1971, ch 93, § 2.


     12-19-9.   Delivery of absentee ballot--Personal delivery when transmission time insufficient--Receipt. An authorized messenger shall deliver the absentee ballot to the person in charge of the election unless there is not sufficient time for the person in charge of the election to transmit the absentee ballot to the voter's home precinct. In that instance, the authorized messenger shall personally deliver the absentee ballot to the precinct superintendent of the voter's home precinct. If the authorized messenger requests a receipt when returning the absentee ballot, the person in charge of the election shall provide the authorized messenger a receipt.

Source: SL 1913, ch 200, § 2; SL 1917, ch 233, § 2; SL 1918 (SS), ch 45; RC 1919, § 7227; SL 1925, ch 159, § 2; SL 1929, ch 114, § 1; SDC 1939, § 16.0607; SL 1963, ch 110, § 2; SL 1970, ch 91, § 1; SL 1972, ch 90, § 3; SL 1974, ch 118, § 139; SL 1976, ch 105, § 66; SL 1979, ch 105, § 2; SL 1980, ch 115, § 6; SL 1983, ch 116, § 1; SL 1992, ch 115, § 6; SL 2006, ch 72, § 4.


     12-19-9.1.   Nursing facility, assisted living center, or hospital having multiple absentee ballot requests. If there is any nursing facility, assisted living center, or hospital, as defined in § 34-12-1.1, within any county from which there might reasonably be expected to be five or more absentee applications, the county auditor shall notify the person in charge of that facility and the chair of the county central committee of each party and any other person who has filed a request to be notified of the date and time at which representatives of the auditor's office will be present to assist the residents of that facility to vote, utilizing the absentee procedure. Any political party, independent candidate, and nonpolitical candidate may assign a person to accompany the auditor's representatives. At the date and time announced, the auditor's representative shall deliver ballots to and assist all persons at that facility who desire such assistance and who have applied for absentee ballots. This section applies only to a general election.
     If a person in charge of an election conducts absentee voting at a nursing facility, assisted living center, or hospital as defined in § 34-12-1.1, the voter shall complete a combined absentee ballot application/return envelope and the identification and affidavit requirements provided in § 12-19-2.1 are waived.

Source: SL 1972, ch 89; SL 1981, ch 125; SL 1997, ch 82, § 1; SL 2003, ch 82, § 5; SL 2006, ch 72, § 5; SL 2017, ch 2, § 6.


     12-19-9.2.   Marking and return of ballot on death of voter before opening of polls. Whenever, prior to the casting of absentee ballots, it is made to appear by due proof to the county auditor or election board that any voter who has marked and forwarded an absentee ballot has died prior to the opening of the polls on the date of the election, the ballot of the voter shall be returned in the unsealed return envelope with the evidence of death attached and the envelope marked "Unopened by reason of death of voter" to the officer in charge of the conduct of the election. The casting of any such ballot shall not invalidate the election.

Source: SL 1974, ch 118, § 142.


     12-19-10.   Preservation and delivery of ballot to precinct superintendent--Comparison of statement and application--Deposit in ballot box--Unopened ballots--Unauthorized examination as misdemeanor. Upon receipt of the sealed return envelope containing the voted ballots, the person in charge of the election shall keep it in a safe place without opening the envelope or breaking the seal thereof and shall, except as provided by § 12-19-42, deliver it to the precinct superintendent of election of the voter's home precinct. The person in charge of the election shall have the absentee ballots delivered with the election supplies, or if received later, then prior to the close of the polls. If the election board is not otherwise engaged in official duties, or if there are absentee ballots not processed when the polls close, immediately thereafter, the board shall carefully compare the statement on the reverse side of the official return envelope with the written application received from the officer in charge of the election without opening or breaking the seal of the return envelope. If the ballot is contained in a combined absentee ballot application/return envelope, the comparison of the statement and the application shall be omitted. The board shall enter the voter's name on the election pollbook and mark the registration list if:
             (1)      The ballots received were voted by the voter whose name appears on the statement;
             (2)      The voter is registered in such precinct and has not previously voted in that precinct at the election; and
             (3)      The written application and statement were both signed by the voter.
     The board shall then open the envelope without opening, unfolding or examining the ballots the envelope may contain, stamp the ballots with the official stamp, and deposit the ballots with the other ballots cast at the election. If the board determines that an absentee ballot envelope cannot be opened because the envelope does not meet the requirements for opening, the reason shall be written on the envelope, signed by a member of the board, and the envelope placed in a larger envelope for unopened absentee ballots. No person may, prior to the counting of the votes, open, unfold or examine any ballot, or make any communication to any person concerning the markings or contents of the ballot. A violation of the preceding sentence is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Source: SL 1913, ch 200, § 3; RC 1919, § 7228; SL 1925, ch 159, § 3; SL 1929, ch 114, § 2; SDC 1939, § 16.0608; SL 1941, ch 80; SL 1944 (SS), ch 2, § 7; SL 1953, ch 75, § 5; SL 1957, ch 85, § 6; SDC Supp 1960, § 16.0616; SL 1963, ch 110, §§ 3, 4; SDCL § 12-19-31; SL 1970, ch 91, § 2; SL 1972, ch 90, § 4; SL 1974, ch 118, § 140; SL 1976, ch 105, § 67; SL 1982, ch 86, § 87; SL 1992, ch 115, § 7; SL 1993, ch 118, § 17; SL 2006, ch 72, § 6; SL 2010, ch 74, § 15.


     12-19-11.   Preservation and return of application and return envelope. The written application and official return envelope shall be preserved by the election officers and returned by them to the proper office together with the other election returns.

Source: SL 1913, ch 200, § 3; RC 1919, § 7228; SL 1925, ch 159, § 3; SL 1929, ch 114, § 2; SDC 1939, § 16.1608; SL 1941, ch 80; SL 1963, ch 110, § 3; SL 1970, ch 91, § 3.


     12-19-12.   Delivery of absentee ballot to polling place after close of polls. If an absentee ballot is delivered to a polling place after the polls are closed, the absentee ballot may not be counted or opened.

Source: SDC 1939, § 16.0608 as added by SL 1941, ch 80; SL 1963, ch 110, § 3; SL 1974, ch 118, § 141; SL 1999, ch 69, § 37; SL 2010, ch 74, § 16.


     12-19-13.   Repealed by SL 1996, ch 94, § 31.


     12-19-14.   Unlawful disposition of ballot or ballot link as misdemeanor. Any voter who, having procured an official ballot or ballots or Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) ballot link as provided in §§ 12-19-1 to 12-19-12, inclusive, intentionally disposes of a ballot in any manner other than as provided in such sections or provides the UOCAVA ballot link to any other person is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. The UOCAVA ballot link is the internet URL for accessing an electronically provided absentee ballot.

Source: SL 1913, ch 200, § 5; RC 1919, § 7230; SDC 1939, § 16.9911; SL 1974, ch 118, § 143; SL 1982, ch 86, § 88; SL 2010, ch 74, § 17.


     12-19-15 to 12-19-22.   Repealed by SL 1974, ch 118, § 200.


     12-19-23.   Repealed by SL 1971, ch 87, § 6.


     12-19-24 to 12-19-31.   Repealed by SL 1974, ch 118, § 200.


     12-19-32.   Ballot not invalidated by federal censorship. The exercise of the right of censorship by the federal authorities upon the marked ballot while same is in transit in the mail, shall not invalidate the ballot or be cause for its rejection.

Source: SL 1944 (SS), ch 2, § 8; SDC Supp 1960, § 16.0617.


     12-19-33.   Failure to deliver or tampering with ballot as felony. Any person who, having procured an official ballot or ballots for another, intentionally fails to deliver the ballots to the voter or who intentionally fails to deliver the return envelope with ballots contained therein to the proper officer, or who tampers with the envelope or ballots is guilty of a Class 6 felony.

Source: SL 1944 (SS), ch 2, § 12; SDC Supp 1960, § 16.9929; SL 1974, ch 118, § 144; SL 1982, ch 86, § 89; SL 1983, ch 116, § 2.


     12-19-34.   Informalities do not invalidate election--Liberal construction. No mere informality in the matter of carrying out or executing the provisions of this chapter shall invalidate the election or authorize the rejection of the returns thereof, and the provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed for the purposes herein expressed or intended.

Source: SL 1944 (SS), ch 2, § 8; SDC Supp 1960, § 16.0617; SL 1974, ch 118, § 145.


     12-19-35, 12-19-36.   Repealed by SL 1974, ch 118, § 200.


     12-19-37.   Absentee ballot precincts--Creation--Absentee ballot counting board. Any county may create a special precinct to be known as an absentee ballot precinct. If the county creates an absentee ballot precinct, all absentee ballots cast at any election shall be counted in such precinct. However, if a paper ballot precinct has ten or fewer absentee ballots cast at the time the polls open on election day, the absentee ballots in that precinct shall be counted at the polling place. The election board of the absentee ballot precinct is the absentee ballot counting board. There may be only one absentee ballot counting board at any time in a county.

Source: SL 1976, ch 108, § 1; SL 1985, ch 116.


     12-19-38.   Appointment of absentee ballot counting board--Number of members. The county auditor shall appoint the absentee ballot counting board in the manner prescribed in chapter 12-15, except that the number of election officials on the absentee ballot counting board shall be sufficient to complete the counting of ballots within a reasonable time.

Source: SL 1976, ch 108, § 2.


     12-19-39.   Oath of board members--Compensation. Each election official of the absentee ballot counting board shall take the oath required by § 12-15-9 and shall be paid as provided by § 12-15-11.

Source: SL 1976, ch 108, § 3.


     12-19-40.   Repealed by SL 1982, ch 130.


     12-19-41.   Powers and duties of absentee ballot counting board. Except as otherwise provided in §§ 12-19-37 to 12-19-52, inclusive, the absentee ballot counting board's powers and duties shall be the same as provided in chapters 12-19 and 12-20 for precinct election officials in regular precinct polling places, except that the board shall receive and count all absentee ballots for all precincts in the county upon receipt thereof from the person in charge of the election.

Source: SL 1976, ch 108, § 6.


     12-19-42.   Envelope containing voted ballots kept closed--Delivery to county board. Upon receipt of the sealed return envelope containing the voted ballots, the person in charge of the election shall keep it in a safe place without opening the envelope or breaking the seal thereof. The person in charge of the election shall cause to be delivered to the absentee ballot counting board, the absentee ballot, or ballots with the election supplies, or if later received, then prior to the close of the polls.

Source: SL 1976, ch 108, § 12.


     12-19-43.   Review of absentee voters' affidavits prior to closing of polls--Counting or processing of ballots. The county auditor may direct the board to meet on election day prior to the closing of the polls for the sole purpose of reviewing the absentee voters' affidavits appearing on the sealed ballot envelopes, if in the auditor's judgment this procedure shall be necessary due to the number of absentee ballots received. The absentee ballots may be opened, stamped, and placed in the ballot box or processed by an automatic tabulating machine, but under no circumstances shall the ballots be manually counted nor any vote totals printed or displayed by any tabulating machine prior to the closing of the polls. If ballots are processed by an automatic tabulating machine prior to the closing of the polls, the resolution board shall be present and notification of such processing shall be provided to each county party chairperson at least ten days before the election.

Source: SL 1976, ch 108, § 4; SL 1977, ch 113; SL 2005, ch 93, § 6.


     12-19-44.   Counting process open. The room occupied by the absentee ballot counting board shall be open to any person for the purpose of observing the counting process.

Source: SL 1976, ch 108, § 5.


     12-19-45.   Record of applicants' names, addresses, and voting precincts--Delivery to counting board--Record of authorized messengers. The person in charge of the election shall preserve a record of the name, post office address, and voting precinct of each applicant for absentee ballots and shall personally deliver the same to the Absentee Ballot Counting Board. The person in charge of the election shall keep a record of the name of the authorized messenger requesting an absentee ballot to be delivered to another voter.

Source: SL 1976, ch 108, § 10; SL 1979, ch 105, § 3; SL 1980, ch 115, § 7.


     12-19-46.   Commencement of count when polls close--Place. The Absentee Ballot Counting Board shall commence counting the absentee voters' ballots immediately upon close of the polls at a central place designated by the county auditor.

Source: SL 1976, ch 108, § 4.


     12-19-47.   Processing of absentee ballots. The absentee ballot counting board, during the time prescribed in § 12-19-46, shall process each absentee ballot as required by § 12-19-10.

Source: SL 1976, ch 108, § 12; SL 1982, ch 86, § 90; SL 1992, ch 115, § 8; SL 1993, ch 118, § 19; SL 2006, ch 72, § 7; SL 2010, ch 74, § 18.


     12-19-48.   Delivery of absentee ballot after polls are closed. If an absentee ballot is delivered to an absentee ballot counting board after the polls are closed the absentee ballot may not be counted or opened.

Source: SL 1976, ch 108, § 13; SL 1999, ch 69, § 38; SL 2010, ch 74, § 19.


     12-19-49.   Death of absentee voter prior to opening of polls--Ballot returned to person in charge--Election not invalidated by casting of ballot. If, prior to the casting of absentee ballots, the person in charge of the election or absentee ballot counting board shall have sufficient cause to believe that any voter who has marked and forwarded an absentee ballot has died prior to the opening of the polls on the date of the election, the ballot of the voter shall be returned in the sealed return envelope with the evidence of death attached and the envelope marked "Unopened by reason of death of voter" to the person in charge of the election. The casting of any such ballot, however, shall not invalidate the election.

Source: SL 1976, ch 108, § 11.


     12-19-50.   Forms for recording tally--Special pollbook--Tally added to home precinct totals. The tally shall be recorded on forms prescribed by the State Board of Elections. A special pollbook shall also be prescribed by the State Board of Elections. Except as provided by § 12-19-52, the tally shall be recorded according to the precincts in which the voters are registered and then added to those individual precinct totals.

Source: SL 1976, ch 108, §§ 4, 9; SL 1993, ch 113, § 12.


     12-19-51.   Repealed by SL 1996, ch 94, § 32.


     12-19-52.   Electronic voting systems. In those counties which have adopted an electronic voting system, counting shall be as prescribed in chapter 12-17B.

Source: SL 1976, ch 108, § 8.


     12-19-53.   Contracting for services of county auditor from another county. If a county contracts for the services of a county auditor from another county, that county auditor shall make absentee ballots available in the contracting county if the contracting county requests that absentee ballots be provided. The contracting county shall reimburse the county auditor for the costs incurred pursuant to this section.

Source: SL 1992, ch 115, § 9.


     12-19-54.   Payment for assisting voters based on number of voters assisted prohibited--Violation as misdemeanor. No person may employ, reward, or compensate any person to assist voters based on the number of voters assisted. Nothing in this section prohibits any person from hiring a person paid on an hourly or salaried basis to assist voters. Any violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Source: SL 2005, ch 91, § 3.


     12-19-55.   Receipt of payment for assisting voters based on number of voters assisted prohibited--Violation as misdemeanor. No person may receive any wages, reward, or compensation for assisting voters based on the number of voters assisted. Nothing in this section prohibits any person from being employed on an hourly or salaried basis to assist voters. Any violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Source: SL 2005, ch 91, § 4.


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