Stutsman County polling places readyElection preparations kicked into high gear for Stutsman County Monday at the Jamestown Civic Center and three rural polling sites. “The Civic Center is all set up and ready to go,” said Casey Bradley, county auditor/chief operating officer, late Monday afternoon.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
Election preparations kicked into high gear for Stutsman County Monday at the Jamestown Civic Center and three rural polling sites.
“The Civic Center is all set up and ready to go,” said Casey Bradley, county auditor/chief operating officer, late Monday afternoon.
At about that time, rural polling places at Pingree Community Center, Kensal Memorial Hall and Medina Memorial Hall were being set up.
And by the end of the day Monday, about 2,600 early voting ballots had been turned in, along with 1,800 absentee ballots.
On Monday morning, county staff loaded up a truck and a trailer with election equipment, and then unloaded it at the Jamestown Civic Center.
There, six county employees from three different departments, one helper and several employees of the Civic Center helped set things up — not including the curtains, tables and other accessories the Civic Center already had in place.
Election equipment includes three electronic poll book machines for use in early voting and 10 to 15 more at the Civic Center. It also includes ballot machines — two for early voting, one for absentee voting, three at the Civic Center, one at each of the three rural polling places and four or five machines set aside in reserve.
All of those machines have been publicly tested, Bradley said.
A number of people are also needed to make the elections run smoothly.
The Civic Center location needs seven clerks, one judge/clerk, one inspector/judge/clerk, four greeters, four inspectors, six Republican judges and six Democratic judges.
Each of the three rural polling places needs one inspector, two clerks and a judge from each of the two major political parties.
The auditor and his staff started working on the election in mid-August, finding out from the state what races would be on the ballot.
Few changes were made to the layout of the Civic Center polling place for this election, although two tables may be added for people who need help voting.
“If you need assistance, ask a greeter,” Bradley advised. “We try to accommodate (people) however we can.”
He expects about 10,000 votes in Stutsman County this election, a number based on the numbers of eligible voters in each of the six districts in the county, as well as turnout in previous elections.
“The biggest issue would be running out of ballots. If that were to happen it would be a bad situation, but I think we have an adequate number of ballots,” Bradley said.
No political party has notified the county that poll challengers will be present for elections, but they could still show up today. Poll challengers represent political parties and can request election officials to challenge a person who wants to vote. The challenged person can sign an affidavit in front of the election inspector that he or she is legally qualified to vote in the precinct.
There will be election observers present from the Republican Party, monitoring the administration of the election. No Democrats are expected.
Election observers must wear name tags that designate their affiliations, and they cannot impede elections. At the Civic Center, they will be behind the curtains in hopes of staying out of the way.
Their purpose, Bradley said, is to learn the names of people who have voted, so that they can call people who have not voted and ask them to vote.
The rules for political signs have changed this election due to a federal judge’s ruling, but people are still not permitted to bring election paraphernalia into a polling place, or within 100 feet of the entrance of a polling place.
People without identification may need to sign a voter’s affidavit, and should bring a document that establishes date of birth, such as a birth certificate, and a document establishing residency, such as utility bill. Cellphone bills don’t establish residency, Bradley noted.
Voter fraud is a Class A misdemeanor punishable with a $2,000 fine and a year in prison.
“Wide margins are good,” he added, referring to race results and the possibility of a recount.
In a general election, an automatic recount is triggered when the margin deciding the vote is less than one-half of one percent.
Candidates can demand a recount if the margin is less than 2 percent, but must then put up a bond for the cost of the recount, Bradley said.
“Usually, it’s a pretty cordial event for most people. People like to come in and cast their vote and get out,” Bradley said.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at
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