Minnehaha County election attracted only 130 voters on Tuesday

The contest for convervation district supervisor was mistakenly left off the general election ballot in November.

Ben Kyte.jpg
Minnehaha County Auditor Ben Kyte.

SIOUX FALLS — What if you held an election and nobody came.

That’s not quite what happened in Minnehaha County this week, but it was close.

Only 130 citizens voted in the race for Minnehaha County conservation district supervisor on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

If that seems surprisingly low in a county with more than 120,000 registered voters, it’s because it is.

“It was lightly attended,” said Minnehaha County Auditor Ben Kyte.


Also, and this may be striking you right about now, there was an election on Tuesday?

Yes, it was a special election for this one — and let’s admit, obscure — position.

The contest was supposed to be decided on the general election ballot in November, but was inadvertently left off.

Kyte said the oversight happened because there usually aren’t more people running for conservation district supervisor — or a few similar offices — than there are positions to be filled.

They don’t normally need an election.

That’s no excuse for not catching it, said Kyte.

“This is my responsibility to ensure that we run the elections correctly,” he said.

The mistake was discovered shortly after the ballots were printed. Kyte had to ask the Second Circuit District Court to approve the plan to hold a special election.


It’s something of a mulligan election.

“Maybe there was some inexperience on my part,” said Kyte, who was appointed to the position in 2020 following the retirement of Bob Litz. “We tried to correct it within the process.”

Kyte lost his bid for a full term in the Republican primary in June. He will turn over the keys to the office to Republican Leah Anderson next month.

The results in the conservation district election were officially canvassed on Thursday, Feb. 16.

For the record, Richard Bonander received the most votes with 89. Allen Severtson was second with 76. Susan Kruse, who was an incumbent on the board, was third with 54.

Each voter could select two names and the top two serve on the board.

Bonander and Severtson are not rookies to the conservation district. There were both advisers to the board in the previous term.

The mission of the Minnehaha County Conservation District is to promote the sustainable use of natural resources.


The board includes a chairman and four supervisors. They oversee District Manager John Parker and a staff of six.

There are also six board advisors.

Patrick Lalley is the engagement editor and reporter for Sioux Falls Live. Reach him at
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