UPDATE: On Tuesday, March 21, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) signed House Bill 1165 into law.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, March 1, the South Dakota House passed an amended version of House Bill 1165, a bill banning drop boxes. H.B. 1165 originally passed the state House on Feb. 7, but on Feb. 27, the state Senate added an amendment to it before passing the bill, which required the House’s final approval. Now that the House has passed the bill, it heads to Gov. Kristi Noem’s (R) desk for her signature.
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 and Georgia Republicans advancing a ban on drop boxes out of committee earlier this week.