Brown County Auditor prepares for first election in new position

ABERDEEN, SD (Dakota News Now) – Lynn Heupel has only been Brown County’s auditor since September 8, but she’s not new to the auditor’s office.

“I started working part-time in 2011, and then in 2012 I became the deputy chief auditor under Maxine Fisher. I had been in the office for about 10 years as deputy chief at that time,” Heupel said.

Heupel ran for county auditor in 2018, but Cathy McNickle won the election. McNickle resigned in July, and Brown County suddenly needed a new auditor.

Hüpel says that his experience helped him to be selected for the position.

“Having experience was key because it’s not a job where you can just walk down the street and know what’s going to happen, especially before an election,” Heupel said.

Most first-time county auditors have two years to prepare for their first election, but Heupel stepped into the role just two weeks before absentee voting began, and it hasn’t slowed down.

“We started absentee voting on September 23 and it’s slowly increasing every week, every day. “We averaged about 20, then it went up to 60, then 200, then over 300, and I think last Friday it was actually over 500 by the time we’ve been working a day,” he said. Heupel.

For Heupel, some things are new, but he feels comfortable in his role as county auditor. He even set goals for himself to achieve.

“It’s just about making sure that everyone gets a chance to vote, as long as they register on time and it’s safe. Everyone’s out there getting their voice out there and that’s one thing, I really want to encourage people to go out and vote. Our percentage has been a little low in the past, around 70%. I’d like to get it into the 90s, if a little bit higher,” Heupel said.

In Brown County, residents can vote at any of the county’s 11 polling locations, making it a little easier to encourage voters to show up on Nov. 8.

“I hope that tomorrow will be busy as well. I know the weather may be a factor in the chill of what they say, but we have a townwide vote. So anyone can go anywhere in Brown County to vote. They don’t have to go to a certain precinct like they used to, which is fine with polling stations,” Heupel said.

Because he was appointed, Hüpel’s term expires in 2024, but he has already decided to run for re-election.

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