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Fewer ballots cast in Stutsman County compared to past elections

There was a total of 6,785 ballots cast in Stutsman County, according to the North Dakota Secretary of State’s website.

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People wait in line to cast their votes Tuesday, Nov. 8, at the Jamestown Civic Center.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN – The line of voters was steady Tuesday, Nov. 8, at the Jamestown Civic Center, but there were far fewer ballots cast in Stutsman County compared to past general elections.

There were 6,785 ballots cast, including 307 at the American Legion in Medina in Stutsman County, according to the North Dakota Secretary of State’s website. The total number of ballots cast included 1,365 from early voting and 866 absentee ballots, said Jessica Alonge, Stutsman County auditor/chief operating officer.

In comparison to past general elections, Stutsman County voters cast a total of 10,044 ballots in 2020, 9,819 in 2018, 10,345 in 2016, 7,808 in 2014 and 9,680 in 2012.

For the primary election in 2020, voting was done by mail for the entire county. Alonge said the secretary of state had sent absentee ballot applications to every eligible voter in North Dakota.

During the general election in 2020, the Jamestown Civic Center was used as a polling location, but Stutsman County voters still cast 4,385 votes by the absentee process.

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She said a big rush of voters came to the Civic Center late Tuesday afternoon, which caused lines at the judges’ tables. But overall, she said voters were able to get through the line “pretty quickly.”

Alonge said there were no major issues Tuesday but several people with address updates came through.

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The clerks check photo IDs for registration and then hand out a numbered ticket to advance the voter to the judge's table to receive a ballot.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

“When we are checking them into the polls and trying to get those addresses updated, sometimes that takes a little bit longer so there was some wait time there, but for the most part it went really well,” she said.

On a couple of occasions, a voter had to revote another ballot. She said the voters had no problem filling out another ballot to make sure the electronic voting machine counted it.

“We are not sure if it was because they pressed on the ovals too dark,” she said. “There were no crossover overvotes or anything like that that would have kicked it back. For some reason, the machine wasn’t reading them.”

Alonge said some absentee ballots came in Tuesday afternoon after the absentee ballots were already processed. She said those absentee ballots will go to the canvassing board.

She said there were eight absentee ballots that the absentee board could not verify signatures on that will also go to the canvassing board.

“The signatures on the affidavit they felt did not match the signature on the ballot application,” she said.

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Stutsman County will send a letter to the individuals to let them know their signatures could not be verified. Alonge said each individual can bring his or her ID to the Stutsman County auditor’s office and swear that both of the signatures belong to that voter before 10 a.m. Nov. 21.

She said any ballots that come in the mail postmarked Monday, Nov. 7, or before will be eligible to be counted, which has to be verified by the canvassing board.

Vote totals are unofficial until the canvassing board meets to certify the election results at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 21, in the commission room.

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Two young future voters tagged along with a parental figure to the voting precinct Monday at the Civic Center.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Masaki Ova joined The Jamestown Sun in August 2021 as a reporter. He grew up on a farm near Pingree, N.D. He majored in communications at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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