RVers’ Absentee Vote Impact Worrisome

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October 17, 2008 by   - () Leave a Comment

When you go to the polls on Election Day, you expect that you and the rest of your community will decide local issues. But what if people scattered all across America had a say in who your next state senator or representative is? KSFY-TV in Sioux Falls, S.D., says it could happen in Minnehaha County, the state’s most populous county.
When it comes to choosing a place to call home, South Dakota is the place to be for many people who live out of their RV's and travel around the country, the station reported.
Attracting RVers is nothing new to the Rushmore State. Its low tax base and same day voter registration are two of the big draws. But Minnehaha County Auditor Sue Roust says the number of RVers registered in the county is on the rise. "Of our initial mail-out of absentee requests, three-fourths of them went to RVers."
Within the county, Roust says most RVers are clustered in three legislative districts. She says there are enough voters registered with home addresses at RV parks and local motels to have a significant impact on legislative races.
Sandy Jerstad and Hal Wick are running against each other for the District 12 Senate seat. "It' something that I can't worry about because there's nothing I can do about it. The concern is that they aren't really tied into the community," Jerstad said. According to Wick, "they come in here, they license them. They pay our taxes on them, they don't drive on our roads as much as some of us do with our own vehicles."
And right now, Roust says, the group is responsible for almost half the absentee ballots that are out. At this point almost 2,800 of the 7,100 ballots we have out are to RVers who are somewhere in the United States, but they stopped here for a day and registered to vote."
When the TV crew visited several these campgrounds, they found RVs that were locked up tightly with no one around them.

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