Rural polls ready for Election DayStutsman County voters outside Jamestown have a choice as to where to cast their ballots on Election Day. Voters in precincts 1, 2 and 5 can vote at their local polling places or at the voting center at the Jamestown Civic Center.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
Stutsman County voters outside Jamestown have a choice as to where to cast their ballots on Election Day. Voters in precincts 1, 2 and 5 can vote at their local polling places or at the voting center at the Jamestown Civic Center.
“There is a convenience factor for a lot of people to be able vote close to home,” said Casey Bradley, chief operating officer and election administrator for Stutsman County. “We want everyone to have the opportunity to vote.”
Any eligible voter in Stutsman County can vote at the voting center at the Civic Center on Election Day, said Linda Chadduck, deputy auditor. But people in Precinct 1 who are not coming to Jamestown can vote at Pingree, people in Precinct 2 can vote at Kensal and voters in Precinct 5 can cast their ballots in Medina.
Voters in rural Precincts 3, 4 and 6 all vote at the Civic Center.
“About 80 to 90 percent of the voters in precincts that have a rural voting location vote there,” Chadduck said. “It is a convenience factor for those that don’t want to come to Jamestown on Election Day.”
During the 2010 general election about 200 votes were cast at Pingree, 140 at Kensal and about 400 in Medina. Chadduck said Precinct 5 at Medina saw higher voter turnout there because of the greater distance to Jamestown.
“We always get a pretty good turnout,” said Linda Snyder, election inspector at Pingree. “The presidential elections always bring out a lot more voters.”
Snyder said the election crew is made up of an election judge from each party as well as two clerks. The whole crew works together to make sure things go smoothly.
“There are set clerical procedures we have to follow to make sure every vote is counted,” she said.
Chadduck said the rural precincts do not have computerized poll books but are given printouts listing those who have voted in previous elections. They then keep a record of who has voted through the day. This information is entered into the system after the election and would indicate if anyone voted at the rural precinct and at the voting center.
But the rural election officials have another way to detect voter fraud.
“We’re always vigilant,” said Elaine Timm, election inspector at Kensal. “But in a small town, between the five of us election workers, we know pretty much everyone that walks in.”
Timm said she had worked at too many elections to count and the process has changed dramatically.
“When I first started doing this back in the ’60s we counted the ballots by hand,” she said. “The counting machines make things so easy.”
Timm said she still looks forward to Election Day.
“I really enjoy the political process,” she said. “I enjoy seeing the people come in and participate.”
For those who think they might also enjoy the work, there may be some openings.
“It’s gotten to the point it’s tough to get workers,” Timm said. “It is the kind of job that once you get it you’re stuck with it.”
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day at all polling places. Stutsman County residents can also cast ballots at the early voting precinct at the courthouse from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays until June 11.
Information on voter eligibility and maps detailing rural and Jamestown precinct boundaries is available at www.co.stutsman. nd.us or by calling the auditor’s office at 252-9035.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org