No more voting at Rapid City Area Schools

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Rapid City Area Schools will no longer serve as a place to fill out a ballot on election day.

Rapid City residents are now asking themselves "where do I go to vote? with seven schools closing as voting precincts.

In early February, the school district had a meeting with the Rapid City Police Department and the Pennington County Auditor's Office to request the change to protect their students.

After seeing the shooting in Parkland, Florida and experiencing problems in the past with local protesters, the school district felt the change was necessary.

"We've had some issues on election day in the past where there have been some political type of protests on those days. And our students and their families, especially in elementary, hearing messages and even seeing visuals that are pretty shocking," Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Dr. Matthew Seebaum said.

Some voters don't mind the change.

"Seems like a good idea to me with safety in mind," Nick Witham, Rapid City resident, said.

Other people are just simply unhappy.

"With the current political climate, everybody needs a voice. So I think that it's a really important thing to have as many polling places because regardless of what your politics are it's important that every American has a voice," David Combs, a Rapid City resident, said.

Combs said a school polling location is convenient for people and without it, it may deter voters from fulfilling their civic duty.

However, Dr. Seebaum said the goal is to not pose an obstacle for voters.

Throughout the year, the Pennington County Auditor's Office has been working on replacing the locations and are almost done. Lori Severson with the county auditor's office said it takes time to find appropriate precincts that meet ADA requirements and have adequate parking space. She said they are currently waiting to confirm the last three places with the goal of having all of them complete by the beginning of 2020.

Voters will receive a card in the mail informing them of their new voting site just in time for the February election to vote on the bond proposal about renovating schools.