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The Lawrence County Commission has rejected a petition that sought to ban the use of electronic devices in elections.
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Lawrence County Commission rejects election petition

DEADWOOD, S.D. – The Lawrence County Commission has rejected a petition that sought to ban the use of electronic devices in elections.

The commission said it would be a violation of state and federal law.

Lawrence County commissioners are the first to deal with such a petition calling for hand counting all ballots in elections and a ban on electronic voting and tabulating machines. The county auditor confirms the group behind the petition has collected enough signatures. The petition calls for a countywide vote that, if passed, would only allow for hand counting of ballots.

Sarah Frankenstein, a Rapid City lawyer who specializes in election law, was brought in to give her advice to the commissioners. She told the commissioners she believes the state has jurisdiction over how votes are tabulated, and a county cannot enact an ordinance that conflicts with state law.

Nicole Braithwaite is one of the petition organizers and told commissioners their goal is to get the issue of hand counting in front of voters. She also told commissioners exit polls at recent primary elections have voters expressing Joe Biden is illegitimate, although there is still no credible evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election as claimed by former President Donald Trump.

At Tuesday’s meeting there was also public comment supporting the current election system as well as the competency and honesty of South Dakota’s county auditors.

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