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2020 allegation in focus during 2024 audit discussion

todayJune 18, 2024 3

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — While an audit mandated by law for the 2024 primary election was on Tuesday’s Minnehaha County Commission agenda, 2020’s general election had county officials’ attention as well.

An empty seat was tough to come by as the commission heard from county auditor Leah Anderson. While state law requires an audit of 5% of precincts, Anderson says that doesn’t go far enough; she wants a total audit of the June 4 primary election.

“I don’t think that 5% of an audit is an adequate amount to verify an election,” Anderson said.

Anderson points to the 2020 general election as motivation. She alleges that audit logs in the county account for 68,922 counted ballots. But overall, Anderson says there were 93,430 total ballots cast: a difference of 24,508.

“I, for one, am looking forward to an explanation on the 24,508 ballot difference,” commissioner Dean Karsky said. “It’s the auditor’s job to find that … if there’s a ‘there’ there, I’d like to know about it, what it is. Look forward to that explanation in a couple of weeks.”

“Just to clarify, that explanation can only come if I pull out all of the 2020 ballots and records,” Anderson said in response to Karsky. “That would take more than a couple weeks.”

But Anderson agrees with Karsky; she, too, wants an explanation.

“I would like to get to the bottom of that,” Anderson said. “It will take some time, and I will get it done as long as I’m not breaking any laws.”

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“To release this, and a screenshot of a spreadsheet that is supposed to be some smoking gun, there’s just no ‘there’ there,” commissioner Joe Kippley said.

Anderson’s allegations, and her not having an explanation for the discrepancy, don’t sit well with Kippley.

“We got some half-baked information here,” he said.

Anderson disputes this, and the crowd behind her clearly had her back on Tuesday.

“My spreadsheet is not half-baked,” Anderson said. “I spent a lot of time going through those numbers. The audit log is in a spreadsheet. It was converted into a spreadsheet which I am not allowed to release to the public.”

Rachel Soulek, director of the division of elections with the South Dakota Secretary of State’s Office, said in a statement to KELOLAND News that the county canvassed the 2020 election’s results “right after the election was held and found no discrepancies at the time with those who voted, and the ballots cast.”

The audit for the June 4 primary election is scheduled for June 25. Anderson says three candidates asked for a recount and that will happen the day before.

Written by: The Dam Rock Station

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