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Stutsman County voter turnout exceeds past years

Voter turnout Tuesday in Stutsman County surpassed the turnout in the last presidential election in 2012, according to Casey Bradley, county auditor/chief operating officer.

Voter turnout Tuesday in Stutsman County surpassed the turnout in the last presidential election in 2012, according to Casey Bradley, county auditor/chief operating officer.

Unofficial results show 10,312 ballots were cast in the Stutsman County general election on Tuesday, according to the Stutsman County website, surpassing the 9,680 voters in 2012. The turnout was higher than expected, Bradley said.

"We had to empty the ballot machines, which is the first time we've had to do that," Bradley said.

Twelve percent of eligible voters in the county voted early, and 1,406 out of 1,488 absentee ballots were returned, said Josh Smaage, Stutsman County director of information technology.

About 50.4 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot this year compared to 57.6 percent in 2012, according to the North Dakota Office of Secretary of State.

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The percentage of eligible voter turnout in the state has decreased since 2004, but the number of ballots cast has increased from 316,016 in 2004 to 325,862 in 2012. This lower percentage is because of the increase in number of eligible voters in the state, according to the secretary of state's office.

Bradley said he was surprised by the heavy use of voter's affidavits. North Dakota voters can use a voter's affidavit to say they are legally qualified voters in their precinct if they do not have a form of identification that meets requirements.

In 2012, North Dakota tied South Carolina and Delaware for the 15th highest voter turnout at 62.2 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The U.S. average voter turnout rate was 56.5 percent.

The voter turnout in Stutsman County has dropped each presidential election since 2004, when 10,235 ballots were cast, until this year, according to data from the secretary of state's office.

Related Topics: STUTSMAN COUNTY
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