South Dakota Auditor Susan Kiepke writes column for National Association of Counties on harassment and abuse that rural county auditors face from election conspiracists

As opposed to the stories we hear out of Sioux Falls about their auditor, there are county auditors that are concerned with doing a good job and serving the public. And unfortunately, they face harassment from the people who spend too much time on facebook claiming election conspiracies where none exist.

There is a good story on the National Association of County Officials (NACO) website from Davison County Auditor, Susan Kiepke on the challenges that our auditors face as they try to run our elections in spite of election truthers, and the conspiracy minded who seem hell-bent on disrupting our elections and claiming evil election plots, because that’s what they read on the Internet. Despite many of those claims being completely obliterated in court:

When I started administering elections, I was able to use schools for polling places. I am no longer able to do so due to security concerns.


I never know when folks will show up to try to convince our commissioners that the DS850 scanner and tabulator that we use to count ballots has a microchip in it that feeds information to Russia.

We have to dispel other misinformation. It has been alleged that CVRs (Cast Vote Records), as well as audit logs aren’t proprietary, which they currently are in South Dakota.

We’ve been accused of not being bonded properly, not being insured properly, not being transparent.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. The people who come in aren’t always calm, hence the request for security.

For the first time since running elections, I have requested security be posted at all polling places from 6 a.m. until approximately 8 p.m. or whenever the last poll worker leaves the polling place. I have also requested to have security at the courthouse where ballots are counted the evenings of the 2024 elections.


I hate that elections have gotten so negative. I used to look forward to them. They were fun and people were happy. Now people come to my office and verbally attack myself and my staff.

The good news in all of this is election officials who haven’t bought into the misinformation, have bonded together. In South Dakota, we rely heavily on one another to testify in front of legislatures, to lean on one another when we are scrutinized and to embrace one another’s strengths.

We believe strongly that our elections are run with integrity, honesty, professionalism, knowledge and transparency.

Read the entire column here.

Interestingly, at the moment there is a bill making its way through the legislature – Senate Bill 20 – which establishes a crime of threatening or intimidating an election official or election worker.  With accounts like the above, it’s shocking that it only passed the senate on a 21-12 basis. It should have been unanimous.

Hopefully, it can make it past the House to be signed into law. County Auditors at least deserve the protection of the law if they face threats and violence for doing the job of our democracy.

18 thoughts on “South Dakota Auditor Susan Kiepke writes column for National Association of Counties on harassment and abuse that rural county auditors face from election conspiracists”

  1. In my humble opinion, the voters of Davison County should very calmly find an auditor who understands federal election law, technology, and that elections are not about having fun.

    There may very well be nothing wrong with their elections, but not acknowledging the legal exposure from technology in use, not following the testimony of reputable canvassing groups in Pierre, and not working hard to remedy the public’s concerns is a fireable offense in my view.

    1. Throwing the bullshit flag on “reputable canvassing group”. Not one of these “truthers” has ever posted one damn shred of actual beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence that they’re on to the biggest fraud in history. Pillow Boy’s data was disproven and now he’s trying to hide and delay paying the guy that took on his challenge.

      1. Did you attend the meetings on the 4th floor in Pierre? There are videos. I’m pretty sure they are not deep fakes since I was there in person.

        Rather than dragging Mike through the mud, I’d like to see you good folks address the videos on substance.

        The hostility from blue collar SD normies doesn’t help matters, but it comes from somewhere genuine.

        1. Remind me again, in what court has any of the “Truthers” claims been validated? Besides the court of opinion in the circles of the dumb and Snake-oil salesmen I can’t think of any.

          1. Your post has zero factual assertions that address evidence presented in the hearings of the 4th floor of the South Dakota State Capitol.

            You also fail to address revelations and admissions in a more recent meeting with the vote machine company.

            To come up to speed, you can watch those videos and post your thoughts and opinions and I’ll gladly read and consider them.

    2. Cast Vote Records are public records. Give them to the people and let’s see if there is any evidence of fraud. Currently every county is preventing the people from getting to the scene of a potential crime. Wonder why that is.

      1. Other than the court has disagreed with you every time it’s been before them. And, the head of the the SD Canvassing Crew, Mrs. Pollema, testified against the bill that would have made them public record.

      2. County’s are bound by the standing OHE decision that states CVRs are not public records. That order or the law needs to change if CVRs are to be released. SDCanvassing testified against, and killed, SB48. Makes you really question the motives there… yes the canvassers supported Pischkes bill that mandated ERM for every county (but made no provision for the ballot images) and came with a laughably insufficient appropriation.

        I also love how this discussion started with the post election audit mantra ‘we are one in however many states not doing a post election audit’. So we passed SB160 in 2023. now the post election audit isn’t good enough.

        Just another example of the group’s absolute refusal to compromise and how they keep changing of the goal. Susan Kiepke is right though S.D. auditors are a force and have each others backs

        1. Assumptions: Cast Vote Records are public information. Withholding them is a violation of federal law.

          The discussion really started with the vote counting stopped in 2020.

          Most county officials are the ones not compromising.

          Public audit of our voting apparatus is not negotiable in a functional democratic republic. It is not up for debate yet here we are.

          “Look we secretly recounted the votes we counted last time, violated chain of custody, but the results are the same .. we promise.”

          Sure thing.

          See you at the Capitol.

          1. this is all moot. this is all theoretical microblathering, along the lines of any debate of the flat-tax.

            upshot: sd and the other red states most likely will join in a major lawsuit to halt the november vote canvas when trump loses – deny an electoral majority – throw it to the supreme court then back to the house to decide the presidential race under mike johnson and the republicans. the writing is on the wall. lord volde-moses will have his 2025 theocracy one way or another. hope ya like it.

  2. Just exactly “What is the problem with South Dakota elections??”…Republicans are winning with 70% majorities in State wide elections and local elections, up and down the ballot. We should welcome such problems.

    1. The game has changed, the routes to victory for bad public policy have changed, but the objectives haven’t.

      In my opinion, you’re not seeing the board.

      It doesn’t matter if there is a D or an R in front of one’s name. Recognize for a moment how simple it is to change a voter registration.

      Just who are all these “Republicans”? Something else to consider – what prevents the Republican platform changing over time and completely redefining what that means?

      If our body politic strays too far toward Republicanism, we end up with monarchy. If it strays too far toward Democratism, we end up with tyrannical mob rule.

      In my view, we are unbalanced toward monarchy at the present time.

      The label on the package still says “republic”, but cash flows and public policy tell a different story. The staunch opposition to a public audit meets the evidentiary threshold.

      “No transparency, no trust”.

      We the people are being ruled by special monarchic interests masquerading as medical, military, technology, and psychology corporations.

      Ask yourself, what is wrong with hand-counting the votes at the precincts (primary), then running them through the machines (secondary)?

      Thanks for the comment and question.

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