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Election sign-up at festival triggers complaint.
Aberdeen News. Associated Press. October 20, 2004.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Officials say an investigation into possible voter registration irregularities has extended to LifeLight, a Christian music festival that drew an estimated quarter of a million people to Sioux Falls on Labor Day weekend.

LifeLight organizers said they invited two groups to register people to vote: the South Dakota Family Policy Council and Redeem The Vote.

But the registration of Lori Beaird, who said she signed up at LifeLight, didn't show up at the courthouse.

Alan Greene, the festival organizer, said Wednesday he's not sure what happened.

"It did come to our attention after the festival (that) there were some overzealous volunteers out there handing out stickers and walking around with clipboards," Greene said.

The matter has been turned over to investigators.

Greene said he apologizes to anyone who may have registered with some other group at the festival. "That would mean that someone was registering people to vote that we weren't aware of," he said.

Beaird said she doesn't remember the name of the group and that she caught the error when she called the county auditor's office to see if her name was on the voter rolls.

Beaird was able to register by Monday's deadline.

"Maybe I'm the only one (whose name) didn't make it," Beaird said Tuesday. "Maybe there's a thousand. Who knows?"

After hearing Beaird's story, Auditor Sue Roust asked Minnehaha County State's Attorney Dave Nelson to investigate. Roust said she was told that several registration booths were operating during LifeLight.

"The ones they had names of, they called, and those people said they had turned in their registrations," Roust said. "We were not able to track down the specific place where she (Beaird) may have registered."

"My understanding is there were several individuals and groups out there engaging in that activity, and we weren't able to get enough information ... to be able to determine who was involved," Nelson said. "So, frankly, law enforcement kind of hit a dead end. They went out and conducted several interviews and weren't able to get past the dead end."

Roust said she urged people last spring to bring their registration cards to her office if they wanted to be "absolutely certain they got registered."

Those who register are supposed to get an acknowledgment card within 15 days, Roust said. The card is given to those who register in person and mailed to the address of those who register by mail or at a registration booth.

"I just thought I'd be registered after I did the form," Beaird said. "Then a co-worker said she got her registration card in the mail. I hadn't been told about getting a card, but after that, I watched for one. When I read that it was the final day for registering, I called because I hadn't gotten one. I found out I wasn't on the list. If I hadn't been talking to the co-worker, I would have just assumed I was registered until I went to vote."

Beaird said she had registered in the Expo Building on the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds. There were a number of booths and tables, along with people with clipboards who appeared to be offering voter registration, she said.

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