Monae Johnson

COMMENTARY
South Dakota Secretary of State Monae Johnson applauds Gov. Kristi Noem before Noem delivered her 2023 budget address on the House floor of the Capitol building on Dec. 5, 2023. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

South Dakota’s new secretary of state still a mystery

BY: - December 13, 2023

In 2022, Monae Johnson was elected South Dakota’s secretary of state. Since then, she has earned another title: Queen of Irony.  Her reign started at the state Republican convention when Johnson and her election integrity minions expressed displeasure at the lack of effort by Steve Barnett when it came to ensuring the security of South […]

"I voted" stickers, as seen on the front of a new brochure from Secretary of State Monae Johnson. (SD Secretary of State)

Secretary of state releases election integrity brochure, urges voters to trust officials

BY: - November 28, 2023

A new brochure from Secretary of State Monae Johnson aims to address common election integrity questions in advance of the 2024 election, according to a Tuesday news release. The brochure, titled “A Guide to Secure Elections in South Dakota,” is designed to explain “different security measures South Dakota has put in place to protect our […]

DakotaPost, a mailbox service in Sioux Falls. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Auditors: New voter residency rules difficult to manage for local election officials

BY: - October 8, 2023

The top election official in South Dakota’s largest county says a law passed last winter that requires all voters to live in the state for 30 days has turned into a headache for her office. Some full-time travelers or out-of-state residents without a home in Minnehaha County wind up on its voter rolls through automatic registration […]

Brown County Auditor Lynn Heupel explains how the tabulator machine works to count election ballots in November 2022. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

Price tag for post-election audits could be larger than lawmaker expectations

BY: - September 29, 2023

The cost to conduct post-election audits in South Dakota could vastly exceed an estimate calculated for lawmakers earlier this year, according to a survey of county auditors. Or it won’t; neither the Secretary of State’s Office nor county auditors are sure. South Dakota’s Board of Elections signed off this week on most of the rules […]

The South Dakota Secretary of State's Office in Pierre. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Post-election audit rules spark debate on voter intent

BY: - September 27, 2023

The perceived daylight between the terms “manual count” and “hand count” proved contentious during discussions of post-election audit rules that inched closer to implementation on Wednesday in Pierre. The rules represent South Dakota’s first foray into post-election audits, which are routinely done in most states. Creating such an audit process was a key campaign issue […]

COMMENTARY
Secretary of State-Elect Monae Johnson celebrates her Nov. 8, 2022, election victory. Behind Johnson (from left) stands her campaign manager, Gretchen Weible, and Weible's husband Rick Weible. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Seeking election integrity behind closed doors

BY: - June 19, 2023

The shouting about the mishandling of the 2020 presidential election has been long-winded and false. However, it has led a number of states, including South Dakota, to make moves designed to increase election integrity. One move was the passage in the last legislative session of Senate Bill 160 which requires county auditors to conduct a […]

A sign identifies a polling place during a city and school election on June 6, 2023, in Rapid City. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

Anti-abortion group sues South Dakota over campaign finance requirements

BY: - June 6, 2023

A Virginia anti-abortion group wants a federal judge to strike down a South Dakota law that requires nonprofit organizations to list their top five donors on political messaging. Students for Life of America is a nonprofit advocacy group launched in 2006, with an aim to educate and connect anti-abortion students with messaging tools and one […]

A Stop The Steal sign is posted inside of the Capitol Building after a pro-Trump mob broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Alabama, Indiana, South Dakota, and Wyoming all elected deniers in their secretary of state races in the past election. (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

Five election deniers who are controlling state voting systems

BY: - February 17, 2023

Americans concerned about the health of democracy breathed a sigh of relief when a pack of election deniers in 2022 lost their attempts to control voting in key battleground states — making it unlikely that a rogue state election official could subvert the 2024 presidential election. Candidates for secretary of state who denied the result […]

COMMENTARY
Jason Ravnsborg, left, is interrogated after the car he was driving struck and killed a pedestrian in rural South Dakota. Ravnsborg, who was the state's attorney general at the time, was ultimately impeached and removed from office. (Image from House Select Committee on Investigation files)

Don’t let party loyalty trump voting for competent candidates

BY: - January 2, 2023

There will be some new faces in Pierre this month as legislative and executive oaths are administered. One face, however, will be familiar. Marty Jackley will return to serve as attorney general. Jackley’s previous time in the office was highlighted by competence and integrity, two qualities missing during the tenure of his successor, Jason Ravnsborg. […]

Secretary of State-Elect Monae Johnson celebrates her Nov. 8, 2022, election victory. Behind Johnson (from left) stands her campaign manager, Gretchen Weible, and Weible's husband Rick Weible. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Barnett resigns early, and Noem appoints Johnson as secretary of state

BY: - December 2, 2022

Gov. Kristi Noem is appointing Monae Johnson as secretary of state, effective Monday. Current Secretary of State Steve Barnett is resigning from the role ahead of the official end of his term on Jan. 2. He will take over as general manager of the South Dakota Rural Electric Association.  Johnson beat Barnett for the Republican […]

The state Capitol in Pierre. (Getty Images)

Thomas Deadrick named Deputy Secretary of State

BY: - November 23, 2022

Secretary of State-Elect Monae Johnson announced Thomas J. Deadrick as Deputy Secretary of State on Wednesday. “As an attorney, former legislator, and former deputy, Tom brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position that will be invaluable to me.” Johnson said in a statement, “Tom has a long history of service to our […]

Secretary of State-Elect Monae Johnson celebrates her Nov. 8, 2022, election victory. Behind Johnson (from left) stands her campaign manager, Gretchen Weible, and Weible's husband Rick Weible. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Incoming Secretary of State looks to hand-count ballots, audit each election

BY: - November 23, 2022

Secretary of State-Elect Monae Johnson campaigned as the candidate who would secure South Dakota’s elections. That message helped her defeat Democratic challenger Tom Cool – who campaigned on concerns about Johnson being an “election denier” – with 65% of the vote.  But the campaign is over, and Johnson is thinking about the changes she hopes […]