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18,300 votes cast in Cass County; turnout more than last non-presidential primary

Primary election voting began at 7 a.m. June 12, 2018. Forum file photo

FARGO – A chilly summer morning turned into a warm and breezy evening as Cass County residents came out to vote in Tuesday’s primary election, during which officials said polling stations experienced few hiccups.

The county has roughly 135,000 eligible voters and about 18,300 ballots were cast, including in-person, absentee and early votes, according to County Auditor Mike Montplaisir. The figure was higher than the 17,835 voters seen in 2014, the last primary held in a non-presidential election cycle.

“Things went very well. We had some normal glitches with scanners,” Montplaisir said. “But that’s the only thing we had.”

Polls opened at 7 a.m., and at the downtown public library, turnout was 12 as of 8:30 a.m., said polling inspector Diane Briggs. By 4:15 p.m., the number had climbed to 164.

Briggs said the day was slow and the turnout was smaller than in past primary elections.

Montplaisir said few issues with signage or voter identification arose at polling stations.

Voter ID requirements have gone through several changes in recent years. North Dakota is the only state that doesn’t require voter registration, so voters must provide a valid ID with their name, date of birth and address at the polling station.

Briggs and Shirley Kondelis, polling inspector at the Fargodome, said no issues regarding voter ID came up during the day.

Kondelis said the only issue was with a ballot scanner that wasn’t working correctly in the morning, but the scanner was replaced.

Jennifer Cook, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota, said no complaints or issues were raised with the group during the election. But she said people sometimes wait until after an election to bring up any trouble they may have encountered.

“It’s good to know voter ID issues are seemingly nonexistent at the polls,” she said.

According to the Secretary of State’s Office, more than 43,857 ballots had been cast in the state as of 5:07 p.m. Tuesday through early voting and absentee voting. In-person voting numbers were not immediately available.