Message from Shantel
It’s been two years. And look at what we have gotten done in the Secretary of State’s office:
Most people think of the Secretary of State’s office and think primarily about elections. However, the Secretary of State’s office is most likely the first government institution a business will come in contact with when forming.
Customer service is the top priority in the Secretary of State's office under my administration.
- Business Service/UCC Software Upgrades: As a former business owner I understood the business community needed to form almost instantaneously in the modern world. Adding more full-time employees would allow us to handle the increased volume but would not eliminate the mail delivery time. The general consensus among the business community was for the need to file documents online in today's fast-paced business world.
In two years we have taken customer service from 6 weeks behind statutory compliant. In essence we are waiting on the customer instead of the customer waiting on us. We implemented an online business filing system in which anyone can search for a business, start up a business and have their certificate of filing completed within 15 minutes.
In terms of business formation documents, until this year with the online software upgrade, the process was to send in your formation documents by mail in paper form with a check attached for the office to data enter the new formation document into our system, print off the formation certificate and then mail it back. That timeframe for a business to receive that paperwork typically ended up with a turnaround time of up to 10 days. Our new online business formation filing system allows that to happen in 15 minutes.
- Revenue Generator: The Secretary of State’s office is a revenue generator for South Dakota. We were projected to bring in $5.9 million to the general fund in 2015. By running efficiently, operating like a business, and meeting statutory compliance, we were able to generate an additional $1.5 million for a total of nearly $7.5 million turned over to the state’s general fund - 25% increase in revenue. This is revenue generated by the customers who utilize the office. In 2015 the entire state of South Dakota exceeded revenue projections by $10 million and 15% of that unexpected increase came from the Secretary of State’s office operating like taxpayers expect.
- Transparency: As an advocate for transparency in government, I understand that I work for the citizens of South Dakota and those who utilize the Secretary of State's office. To ensure that the 5-6 week delays in business filings and the more than 80 days behind in Uniform Commercial Code filings that occurred under the previous administration do not happen again, I have made it an office policy to have the processed date for Business and Uniform Commercial Code filings displayed on the top of each web page. I believe the best government comes from engaged and informed citizens who expect elected officials to live up to our obligations and have the tools to hold us accountable.
- Pistol Permit Upgrades: 2016 saw an all-time high with over 30,000 conceal carry permits issued for a total of more than 96,000 active permit holders in the state. In 2017, the Secretary of State’s office will be rolling out a new more official looking permit card.
- 2% budget reduction in 2017 with Zero Based Budgeting: My staff and I know that we work for the taxpayers of South Dakota. That is why we operate at the most efficient level possible and have proposed a 2% reduction in our budget.
- Satellite Polling Locations: In June of 2015 the Secretary of State’s office began working with the 7 member bipartisan Board of Elections to establish the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Grant Board which has worked with County Auditors to establish seven satellite polling locations in impoverished areas of South Dakota. My objective has been to ensure that voters lacking financial means have access to the polls.
- Reforming the way Government Operates:
We have restored integrity back to the Elections Division.
The Business Services Division is now a leader in the nation with the new online filing system.
We ended the wasteful funding for a voting program called iOasis that cost $648,000 and was used by 27 voters under the previous administration. $648,000 / 27 = $24,000 per user.
The biggest surprise we discovered after being sworn in was the theft of the original 1909 state flag that had been on display in the Secretary of State's office. In 2013, a former employee under the previous administration had taken it to Washington DC. With the help of Legislative Audit and the Attorney General's office, we made it very clear to the people of South Dakota that the original state flag would be recovered on my watch.
After the 1600 mile journey home, our original state flag is once again on display in the Secretary of State's office for the people of South Dakota to cherish.
Within the first two years of my administration, I'm proud to report that we have reformed the way our office functions. In less than two years my staff and I have fulfilled every commitment I made to the citizens of South Dakota.
Secretary of State