Voter turnout strong here, but not quite a recordElection turnout in Stutsman County was strong Tuesday, but not strong enough to set a record for voter turnout, said Casey Bradley, Stutsman County auditor/chief operating officer.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
By Ben Rodgers
The Jamestown Sun
Election turnout in Stutsman County was strong Tuesday, but not strong enough to set a record for voter turnout, said Casey Bradley, Stutsman County auditor/chief operating officer.
In total 9,609 ballots were cast. Of those, 5,323 ballots were cast at the polls Tuesday, another 2,635 came from early voting and 1,651 were absentee ballots.
“There were a lot of issues on the ballot, races people were interested in,” Bradley said. “Obviously the presidential campaign gets people out. Also you had five measures people were interested in, and also you had the County Commission race.”
Turnout was strong all day, Bradley said. From 7 to 7:15 a.m. 145 people cast ballots. Turnout was so strong in the morning that 15 additional voting stations had to be added.
He said another influx of voters hit when work let out.
“We had about 20 minutes there where there were no (polling) places for people,” Bradley said, which happened at about 5:15 p.m. “We were directing traffic.”
Bradley said two voters at the Civic Center wore campaign-based paraphernalia and removed it before they received their ballots.
The three rural polling sites in Stutsman County, Medina, Pingree and Kensal reported no problems, and had strong turnouts, he said.
“It’s just been a constant stream all day,” Bradley said about an hour before the polls closed. “It’s been a fantastic turnout.”
In 2008 Stutsman County cast just more than 10,000 ballots for the presidential election. This year the county fell about 300 ballots short, but officials agree the youth turnout was strong on Tuesday.
“The turnout was very good,” said Kate Spanjer, an election judge in Stutsman County since the early ’60s. “We were so pleased with the college students who came and voted, some for the first time.”
Bradley did have the finalized numbers but said roughly one out of every 10 ballots cast Tuesday was from a college student or first-time voter.
One of those first-time voters on Tuesday was Steve Nelms, a fourth-year senior at Jamestown College.
“Eventually we’ll be out there in the working world and the stuff we vote on will be a factor,” Nelms said.
Other voters interviewed said the presidential election was a factor while another deemed Measure 5 the most pressing issue on the ballot.
All interviewed said the process went smoothly.
“I thought it was awesome that we were pretty much able to walk right in and vote and things went smoothly,” said Roxanne Johnson.
Johnson was drawn to the ballot box in part Tuesday because of what’s at stake for the nation.
“I feel like the presidential race is very important because what I’ve been reading, there’s a lot of things globally dependent on one thing or another,” she said.
New to Stutsman County this year were election observers. The North Dakota GOP had seven individuals behind the scenes working to get more voters to the polls.
“We’re taking the names of all the people that voted and we’re putting them into an app,” said Truman Haut, an election observer. “Then the people in Fargo mark the ones that voted on a list and the people not on the list, they get called and they go vote.”
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org