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South Dakota House panel backs online voter registration

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Steve Barnett


PIERRE | A South Dakota House committee on Tuesday approved a proposal by Secretary of State Steve Barnett to allow people to register to vote online.

Barnett said the bill would allow people with a South Dakota driver's license or other state ID to register to vote through an online portal. He proposed launching the system July 1 next year. His office said 38 other states already allow voters to register online.

Barnett said the system would make it more convenient to register, increase the accuracy of voter rolls, and may save money for county election officials who could spend less time on voter registration. It would cost $25,000 to implement, according to his office.

The system would verify registration information by checking it against the state's vital records and other databases to make sure the person is eligible. The state has used a similar system since 2011 for absentee voters who serve in the military or live overseas.

The full House will decide on the bill next. Several legislators said they are planning amendments.

The committee also approved a bill to remove the year of birth from publicly available voter registration records, as recommended by the Department of Homeland Security to protect against identity theft.

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