Moody County’s election results will stand, including a close race for county commission.
Commissioner Carla Bruning, earned 268 votes to retain her seat, but challenger Mark Bonrud came within the two percent allowed for a recount with 258 votes. Bonrud, Flandreau’s former mayor, said he won’t request a recount for the 10-vote spread.
County commissioners canvassed the vote totals on Thursday, but nothing changed from results on election night. Details of the report showed that 24 people who were eligible to vote in the Bruning-Bonrud race didn’t vote for either one.
In the presidential race, Moody County voters mirrored the state of South Dakota. President Donald Trump, a Republican, won in the county with 61 percent of the vote or 1,951 total votes. That compared to former Vice President Joe Biden’s 37 percent of the vote with 1,179 ballots in his favor. Libertarian Jo Jorgensen had 2 percent or 76 votes.
Biden won two of the precincts in Moody County, precincts 1 and 2, which include the city of Flandreau. In precinct 1, it was Biden 53 percent to 44 percent over Trump, and in precinct 2, Biden had 55 percent of the vote to Trump’s 39 percent. The President handily won the other precincts with roughly a 2 to 1 margin.
Voter turnout for Moody County was 78 percent with 3,251 of 4,169 active registered voters casting ballots. Absentee voters totaled 1,551, and no ballots were received in the mail after the election day deadline.
“I’m curious what future elections will bring for absentee ballots,” said Auditor Kristina Krull. This year, voting early was encouraged if people wanted to avoid crowds at polling places because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Krull said several people came to the polling places wanting to vote but had never registered to vote. In those cases, they were given a form to register but were not allowed to vote because the registration deadline was in October.
For legislative District 8, Republicans Marli Wiese and Randy Gross will return to the state House. Wiese, of Madison, had 36 percent of the district’s votes, or 7,029 votes, but in Moody County she had 30 percent with 1,682 votes. Gross, of Elkton, had 32 percent of the votes in both the district at large, where he had 6,327 votes, and in Moody County, where 1,795 people voted for him.
Democrat challenger Val Parsley, of Madison, had 23 percent of the vote in Moody County or 1,291 votes, and Democrat John Kessinger of Woonsocket had 12 percent with 685 votes.
Newcomer Republican Casey Crabtree of Madison was not challenged for a state senate seat in District 8 but was on the ballot for confirmation. He had 2,000 votes in the county.
In the U.S. Senate race, Sen. Mike rounds, a Republican won the county with 58 percent of the vote or 1,877 total votes to challenger Dan Ahlers, a Democrat, who had 42 percent with his 1,343 votes. Ahlers, of Dell Rapids, fared better in Moody County that his state totals showed.
Rep. Dusty Johnson, a Republican, swept the county with 79 percent of the vote or 2,425 total votes to Libertarian Randy Luallin’s 631 votes.
Public Utilities Commissioner Gary Hanson retained his spot and also won in Moody County with 66 percent of the vote here, beating Democrat Remi Bald Eagle who had 30 percent.
Constitutional Amendment A, which legalizes marijuana, passed 52 percent to 48 percent in the county with a 1,677 to 1,529 vote split. Precincts 1 and 2 voted in favor of the amendment, while the rest of the precincts disapproved.
The law would not make the drug legal until July 2021.
Constitutional Amendment B, which allows for sports wagering in Deadwood and on Indian reservations, got the county voters’ approval with 58 percent of people in favor. The vote total was 1,845 to 1,210, with the issue passing in all precincts.
Initiated Measure 26, to legalize marijuana for medical use, was approved in the county by 70 percent, with 2,234 votes in favor and 973 votes against. All precincts supported the measure.
The Trent gym was the busiest polling place early in the day Nov. 3 with a line outside of the building when polls opened at 7 a.m. By 7:30, 66 people had voted, said Tawny Heinemann, county human resources manager.
Voters from Trent and Egan came in a steady stream throughout the day, with traffic up slightly again after people got off work.
Cole Tolley, 19, of the Colman area, came to the polling place with his mother, Amber, exercising his right to mark a ballot for the first time.
“It’s your voice. It’s always what I’ve been told (to do),” he said of his choice to vote in the general election that included the race between Trump and Biden.
Lori Wendell, of Egan, votes every year and was interested in the presidential race.
“It’s important because we have to have a good president, who knows what he’s doing,” she said.
Masks were suggested but not required at polling places and most people wore them while in line and voting. The county also had a worker at each location, wiping down tables between individual voters in order to protect people from the possible spread of COVID-19.