Thousands cast ballots in absentee, early votingMore than 2,600 Stutsman County residents have already cast their ballots in the 2012 General Election. Officials anticipate that number will continue to climb.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
More than 2,600 Stutsman County residents have already cast their ballots in the 2012 General Election. Officials anticipate that number will continue to climb.
“Things are going smoothly with no lines,” said Casey Bradley, chief operating officer of Stutsman County. “We’re getting the people in and out, which is serving the purpose.”
The 2,600 people who have already voted included 1,367 returned absentee ballots and 1,239 who have voted at the early voting precinct at the Stutsman County Courthouse. An additional 389 absentee ballots have been mailed out but not returned. Those ballots must be returned to the courthouse or postmarked no later than Nov. 5 to be included in the tabulation.
Bradley said typical presidential year general elections see about 10,000 voters in Stutsman County. In the 2008 election a total of 9,941 ballots were cast with 1,787 absentee voters and 2,676 early voters, which means about 44 percent of all voters cast their ballots before Election Day.
“There is a great convenience factor,” said Frank Balak, a new Jamestown resident voting at the courthouse Tuesday. “I’m voting today because I’ll be out of town on Election Day. This is an easy process to vote.”
Other voters Tuesday agreed.
“I think it’s great,” said Dave Gienger, a retired Jamestown resident. “If you don’t know if you’ll be here or what the weather will be you can get it done when it’s convenient.”
Bradley said he anticipated a heavy turnout for the rest of the early voting period and on Election Day.
“We already have 25 percent of the 2008 turnout voting,” he said. “There is a lot of interest in this election.”
Early voting hours at the Stutsman County Courthouse are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Friday this week, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday. Tuesday is Election Day.
Bradley said 86 people voted on Oct. 27 but he said he expected heavier turnout this Saturday and on Monday at the courthouse.
Residents are required to bring valid photo identification with them when voting. Those new to the area should also bring a utility bill showing their address of residence.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 6 with a county-wide central polling place at the Jamestown Civic Center and rural polling places at Medina, Pingree and Kensal.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at email@example.com