WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, Feb. 7, the South Dakota House of Representatives passed House Bill 1165, a bill that would ban drop boxes from being used in all elections. The bill now goes to the state Senate for approval, where it is also likely to pass due to Republicans’ overwhelming majority.
H.B. 1165 effectively bans drop boxes by requiring all voters to return mail-in ballots by mail or by delivering it in-person to elections offices. The bill also makes several other changes to the mail-in voting process in South Dakota by
- Allowing partisan poll watchers to observe the ballot counting process,
- Prohibiting the distribution of mail-in ballot applications with pre filled information in most cases and
- Increasing the penalty for misdemeanors associated with the mail-in voting process.
If H.B. 1165 is signed into law, South Dakota will join the growing number of Republican states that have enacted restrictions on drop boxes in recent years, with Ohio passing a law limiting drop boxes to one per county earlier this year. Given South Dakota’s Republican trifecta — meaning the GOP controls both chambers of the state Legislature and the governorship — this bill is likely to become law.