In ND, campaigning stops as voters make decisionsBISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A longstanding North Dakota law that banned campaigning on Election Day may have been lifted, but many candidates passed up the chance to make last-ditch appeals to voters who filed into polling stations Tuesday to cast their ballots.
By: Dale Wetzel, Associated Press, The Jamestown Sun
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A longstanding North Dakota law that banned campaigning on Election Day may have been lifted, but many candidates passed up the chance to make last-ditch appeals to voters who filed into polling stations Tuesday to cast their ballots.
A former North Dakota Republican Party chairman has challenged a state law that bans campaigning on Election Day, and a federal judge ruled last week that it can't be enforced Tuesday. In past elections, the law kept candidates from running Election Day ads and prompted them to take down campaign signs the night before.
John Grabinger, a Democratic state Senate candidate in Jamestown, was one of many candidates who said he would forswear campaigning Tuesday even though it was permitted.
"People have had enough of the campaign. We don't need more of it on Election Day," Grabinger said. "If you ain't got it done ... I don't think more campaigning on Election Day is going to make a whole lot of difference."
All eyes were on the U.S. Senate race between GOP U.S. Rep. Rick Berg and Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, as the Republicans were banking on Berg to take the seat held by retiring Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad for 26 years to help give them control of the chamber. Voters were also deciding races for U.S. House, governor, the Legislature and other statewide offices, as well as five ballot issues, including proposals to protect farming rights and impose harsher criminal penalties for cruelty to dogs, cats and horses.
North Dakota residents broke a record for early voting. Nearly 130,000 people had already voted before the polls opened on Election Day, Secretary of State Al Jaeger said. That broke the record set in 2008 by about 10,000 votes.
Jaeger said Tuesday that he expected voter turnout in the state to be similar to what it was in the presidential elections four years ago and eig