Five Minutes: with Kristen Witchey


Kristen Witchey


Editor’s note: The “Five minutes with” series focuses on a different person each time. The interviewer spends five minutes speaking with a person to learn about them, their specialty or something they are passionate about.

Kristen Witchey, deputy finance officer for Brookings County, can answer all your election related questions. In addition to all election related topics, she manages payroll for the county and liquor licenses. Witchey answered The Collegian’s questions about the upcoming election and how it relates to Brookings County. 

Q: What is your role in the voting and election process?

A: I take care of voter registrations and actual voting. Right now, we have absentee voting going on, as of Oct. 20, 2016 which has to happen for 40 business days prior to an election. All of that is taking place along with getting people registered, actually helping them vote, giving out sample ballots and mailing out ballots when they are requested. It’s pretty hopping.

Q: How does this year compare with previous years in terms of voting registrations?

A: Right now we’re having about 120 people voting per day and, as of this morning, we’re just shy of about 1,400 absentee voters who have already voted. We have a little over 300 absentee ballots that have been mailed out but have not come back yet (as of Oct. 20, 2016). In comparison to the last presidential election in 2012, we had, by the end of absentee voting, just under 4,000 absentees.

With the time remaining, I think we might be a little behind where we were in ‘12, but you never know because we have a couple weeks left. For voter registrations, I would say that this year is pretty comparable, if not a little ahead, than where we were before. We don’t track exact numbers, but the number of people coming in has just been crazy. There have been a ton of people voting and getting the sample ballots. 

Q: Why do you think it is important that college students vote?

A: I think that it’s important that everybody votes, but, for college kids, you’re just starting out and you’re just starting to be able to make those decisions and there’s a lot of time where you’re going to be able to make those decisions. I just think that this is a good time to start.

Q: What are some of the most important things to consider before voting?

A: You just have to do your homework. Everybody’s opinions are going to be different on things but the main thing is to just go with your heart and gut on that. That’s why we have the opportunity to vote on something; you and I might have different opinions on something and that’s why the votes count. You just have to do your homework on all of it, whether that be on the candidates or the measures or the constitutional amendments.