This year I voted by absentee ballot for the first time. I know a large portion of our District is doing the same. I do not know where we would be this year the without the option to vote by absentee ballot, or without having 46 days to complete and mail in our absentee ballots due to the current issues facing the post office.
In 2019 Representative Finck and Senator Blare co-sponsored legislation that would have changed the time for absentee (early) voting from 46 days to 14 days. Thankfully, this legislation was unsuccessful. It would have been disastrous in our current situation had it passed.
Even though this legislation failed, I think questions still need to be asked of Representative Finck and Senator Blare. Why would we need to restrict South Dakotans' access to the polls? Why was this necessary? What problem were you trying to solve? Who would this have helped? Who would this have hurt? How would have it affected overseas military personnel? How would have it affected college students? How would have it affected people with limited mobility or in failing health? How would have it affected farmers and ranchers who live far from their local courthouses and polling places? How is 14 days a reasonable amount of time to request, receive, complete, and return a ballot by mail for anyone in the state?
I want to know the answers to these questions, and you should too. However, the most important questions going forward are:
1) Did they ask any of the above questions prior to signing on to this bill? 2) Do they plan to continue to propose legislation to prevent people from voting?
Voting is a fundamental right, not a privilege. It is how we hold our elected officials accountable. We should be increasing South Dakotans’ access to the polls, not putting up unnecessary roadblocks. Will Representative Finck and Senator Blare continue to propose and support unnecessary roadblocks? If elected, I know I won't be.