(NEWSnet/AP) — Voters in at least three South Dakota counties are set to decide Tuesday whether to return to counting ballots by hand.

The counties, each with fewer than 6,000 residents, would be among the first in the U.S. to require old-school hand-counts, which were replaced long ago by tabulators in most of the U.S.

Some experts say hand-counting is less accurate than machine tabulation.

Supporters of the South Dakota effort aren’t deterred by such worries.

“We believe that a decentralized approach to the elections is much more secure, much more transparent, and that the citizens should have oversight over their elections,” said Jessica Pollema, president of SD Canvassing, a citizen group supporting the change.

The initiative to prohibit tabulating machines are set to appear on Tuesday’s primary ballot in Gregory, Haakon and Tripp counties. Similar petition efforts are underway in more than 40 other counties in the state, Pollema said. At least four counties have rejected attempts to force hand-counting.

If the measure passes, Gregory County Auditor Julie Bartling said the county will have to increase the number of precincts to decrease the burden of manual tabulation.

Bartling, who oversees elections in the county, opposes the initiative and said she has “full faith in the automated tabulators.”

DeSersa’s office estimated it would cost $17,000 to $25,000 for elections in Tripp County to be counted by hand, compared to about $19,000 to $21,000 using tabulators. Haakon County Auditor Stacy Pinney said she estimated manual counts will cost $750 to $4,500, but “an election cost is hard to determine at this point.”

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