Minnehaha County is updating voter registration databases, which officials say will take until Feb. 28.
Of the approximately 127,000 registered voters in Minnehaha County, the Auditor's Office estimates 60,000 will be impacted by legislative district boundary changes.
The changes include the addition of one legislative district encompassing the northwestern part of Sioux Falls for a total of nine districts in Minnehaha County and new boundaries for each of those districts, said county auditor Ben Kyte at Tuesday's commission meeting.
"If you were a smaller county you would go into your database and change each one of those," said Kyte. "That's not practical for 60,000 voter changes."
The process has been delayed three to fourth months due to COVID-related delays with receiving state guidance and census data. The South Dakota Legislature gave final approval of the new legislative boundaries on Nov. 10.
The Auditor's Office is working with the county's GIS staff to update the voter registration database by the February deadline and will also need to develop and apply new voter splits that will assign voters to their correct legislative district within the voter registration database.
"We often talk about this change as related to precinct changes," Kyte said. "We're not changing precincts, so you're still going to the same polling locations. It's just who you vote for may change."
More challenges to overcome with Minnehaha County's redistricting
Kyte pointed out the boundary changes create challenges for individuals looking for an updated registration list. Individuals interested in running for office and are seeking a voter registration list at the beginning of January won't be able to get an updated list until after February.
Kyte anticipates other challenges with the redistricting changes including the cross-over of polling precincts between districts, which might require changing precinct boundaries in the future after the primary election in June.
"We estimate there might be over 27 of those issues in 2022," Kyte said.
The focus now is updating the voter registration list quickly, Kyte said, since changing precincts will be a "big task" to tackle in the future.
Email human rights reporter Nicole Ki at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter at @_nicoleki.
This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: What Minnehaha County's redistricting will impact, challenges ahead