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Excerpts from recent South Dakota editorials

American News, Aberdeen, Nov. 3, 2016

Nothing should stop you from voting

If you’re beyond tired of the election season, we certainly understand.

Few, if any, campaigns have been as trying as this year’s presidential election battle, with unpopular, scandal-ridden candidates and their supporters who can’t possibly fathom what their peers in the opposite party are thinking in backing either Clinton or Trump.

The political chasm, it seems, has never been this deep or wide.

But there’s one thing people in any party – and those who are politically unaffiliated – should be able to agree on: Taking time to vote is important.

We harp on the topic every time we’re facing an election.

We do that because it’s important.

In Brown County, absentee voting is open at the auditor’s office during normal business hours until 5 p.m. Monday. The office will also be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday to accommodate people who are busy.

That’s a nice convenience, though one that, frankly, shouldn’t be needed in a time when we can cast ballots weeks and weeks ahead of Election Day.

There is no good excuse for missing out on this election. Not apathy in the presidential race, not confusion by the many ballot measures, and not out of protest because you think the whole system is “rigged.”

Your ballot in South Dakota is safe.

We’ll say that again – your ballot is safe.

Secretary of State Shantel Krebs, a Republican, and Brown County Auditor Maxine Fischer, a Democrat, elaborated the many reasons in a story published Sunday. We’ll recap them:

. The use of paper ballots is one barrier that eliminates the possibility of election fraud. The completed ballots are placed in boxes that are locked and sealed. That is another barrier.

. The use of stand-alone tabulating machines that read the ballots and tally the votes, and which aren’t connected to the internet, is yet another barrier.

. County auditors report the results to the secretary of state’s central elections reporting system. To reach that internet site, a county auditor has to go through two pass codes in what’s known as a double air-gap security system. That’s a barrier, too.

. As further assurance, each county convenes a canvassing board within six days after the election to review the results.

. And a state canvassing board meets within 10 days after the election once it has received canvass results for every county.

Those steps should give voters confidence.

Don’t grow discouraged. Don’t be apathetic. Don’t believe your vote doesn’t count or won’t get counted.

Voting is not an obligation. And even though it’s often called a civic duty, it’s not that, either.

It’s a privilege, and one we shouldn’t take lightly.

Maybe there is a spot or two on the ballot you want to leave blank. If that, after careful consideration, is what you consider to be the best option, that’s fair. But don’t let others speak for you. Show up and vote.


Capital Journal, Pierre, Nov. 2, 2016

We support efforts to boost the area workforce

It’s no secret that Pierre and Fort Pierre are suffering from a workforce shortage.

Both Hughes and Stanley Counties have unemployment rates hovering around 2 percent. That’s 3 percent below what many economists say is full employment, which is about 5 percent.

On the surface this would seem like a good thing. Low unemployment means more people contributing to more to our local economy. But as it turns out, a very low unemployment rate means employers have a tougher time finding employees, which causes a bit of trepidation when it comes to growing or opening a business. We’re not immune to this issue at the Capital Journal. Filling critical open positions has, at times, taken months.

The question of what to do about all this has been weighing heavily on the minds of leaders in both Pierre and Fort Pierre. So much so, that last year they established the Workforce Development Council and charged its members with coming up with some ideas on how to grow the workforce.

That council met for the last time last week to share their ideas and come to a consensus on what actions they’d be recommending that city leaders take. We wrote about the meeting in the Oct. 26 edition. Three subcommittees, one each for housing, education and recruitment and retention, came up with ideas to address nine of the most pressing problems facing workforce development in our communities. Those recommendations will be published and formally presented to the Fort Pierre City Council and the Pierre City Commission early next year.

None of the problems identified by the Workforce Development Council will be easy to solve. But now, at least, we’ll have a blueprint to follow.

We support the Workforce Development Council’s work and look forward to helping our community grow through the implementation of the council’s recommendations.


The Daily Republic, Mitchell, Nov. 1, 2016

Despite EHD, consider Sportsmen Against Hunger

November is a time when many outdoor enthusiasts start ramping up their efforts with deer hunting.

The bowhunting season is already several weeks old, West River opens Nov. 12 and East River is the following weekend. Deer hunting is a way many youth become exposed to the outdoors. It’s a great tradition in South Dakota, and the sport helps for the future of our outdoor activities. Deer hunters provide an important revenue source for management and conservation as 2014 brought in approximately $ 4.8 million in license revenue.

Though, perhaps the most under-the-radar aspect of deer hunting in South Dakota is that it brings thousands of meals to needy families.

According to the most recent South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Conservation Digest magazine, it’s been 10 years since the South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger program first partnered with GF&P.;

During that time, 684,000 pounds of venison has resulted in about 2.61 million meals to families across the state. In 2010, the banner year of the program, 104,000 pounds of ground venison was donated.

That’s simply phenomenal.

This year, though, doesn’t look as optimistic for the lesser-known food donation program. GF&P; has reported there’s been a significant hit to deer populations again due to epizootic hemorrhagic disease, which has affected a significant population of white-tailed deer in eastern South Dakota.

GF&P; has scaled back many of the leftover deer licenses due to EHD, which could mean bad news for Sportsmen Against Hunger and its intake of meat this year. Typically, many of the deer previously donated were from extra tags.

Still, we hope deer hunters who harvest an animal this year consider donating even a small portion to Sportsmen Against Hunger. One pound of venison burger can feed a family of four, so every pound counts.

There are more than 30 big game donation locations in South Dakota, with meat processors scattered across the state.

Sportsmen Against Hunger is a program that’s accomplished great philanthropic efforts already. While this year may be a down season for deer licenses, we hope everyone considers donating to this worthy cause.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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