Getting Assistance While Voting
Voters who have a disability, physical limitations or limited English proficiency may ask for assistance at the polling place. Voters can contact your local County Election Official before Election Day if special arrangements are needed. Federal law requires all polling places to be accessible. If you feel your polling place is inaccessible, please contact your County Auditor.
The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requires that each polling place for any Federal election provide a voting device equipped to allow voters with disabilities the means to vote independently and privately. South Dakota has chosen the AutoMARK from Election Systems and Software. South Dakota has recently certified the ExpressVote which will replace the AutoMARK in those counties that decide to purchase this new voting device. The ExpressVote voting device provides the same special features the AutoMARK provides.
The voter in South Dakota receives a paper optical scan ballot. The voter has the option to mark the ballot by hand or by use of the AutoMARK ballot assistant. The AutoMARK keeps no record of votes. It is a paper-based, electronic ballot marker-an "electronic pen." Most voters find it to be intuitive and user-friendly.
The AutoMARK has special features to assist voters who are blind, have poor eyesight, can't hold a pen, or have other difficulties in voting a on a paper ballot. All ballots-whether voted by pen or by AutoMARK-go into the same ballot box.
When a ballot is inserted into the AutoMARK, an electronic version appears on the screen. The pictures of the ballot contests can be enlarged for easier reading, shown in reverse contrast, or turned off for privacy if a voter chooses to access the ballot by attached headphones and keypad. The audio description of the ballot can be used in place of or in conjunction with the visual version on the screen. The voter makes selections through the touch screen or keypad. (A voter may also bring an A/B switch to access the AutoMARK.)
The AutoMARK warns of undervotes and will not allow overvotes. The voter may make changes before the ballot is marked. The voter is provided a summary of selections. When the voter selects Mark Ballot, the appropriate ovals of the optical scan paper ballot are marked and the ballot is ejected. If a marked ballot is inserted into the AutoMARK, the touch screen will display and the headphones will describe the selections marked on that ballot. The voter takes the official paper ballot to the precinct ballot box for casting. A ballot privacy sleeve is provided to all voters.
If you feel you cannot vote on the day of the election, please fill out an absentee ballot application and mail it to your County Election Official by 5:00 pm the day before the election to receive an absentee ballot. Absentee voting begins 46 days prior to the primary and general elections.
Download an absentee ballot application by visiting the absentee voting page.
If you are seeking further assistance, please contact the following groups:
South Dakota Secretary of State
500 E. Capitol Ave, Ste. 204
Pierre, SD 57501
Fax: (605) 6580
South Dakota Advocacy Services
221 South Central Ave., Ste. 38
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 224-8294 (Voice/TTY)
Fax: (605) 224-5125
South Dakota Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities
221 S. Central Ave. Suite #34A
Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: (605) 945-2207
V/TDD: 1 (800) 210-0143
Fax: (605) 945-2422