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Elections run smoothly across North Dakota

Elections run smoothly across North Dakota

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Tuesday’s elections went smoothly with just a few minor hiccups reported at voting locations across North Dakota, according to the state’s top election official.

“It went very well,” Secretary of State Al Jaeger said. “Our goal is to have the story be the results the next day and not about the election process.”

Jaeger said the most notable issue was a power outage in Grand Forks that impacted a few thousand customers Tuesday afternoon. Election workers at precincts in that area of town were able to get through it with little or no problem, he said.

Unofficial results from his office show a voter turnout of 138,685 -- about 24.3 percent of the estimated 570,955 eligible voters in the state.

The record for June voter turnout was set in 2012, when 175,303 votes were cast, representing 33 percent of the estimated 532,776 eligible voters in the state at that time.

Population estimates for voter turnout are based on numbers from the North Dakota Census Data Center. This is the only state without formal voter registration.

Jaeger said his office received questions beginning the day after the election about things such as recount procedures.

“I certainly don’t consider these (questions) to be problems,” he said.

Under state law, a candidate in a primary election can demand a recount if the vote total is more than 1 percent but less than 2 percent below the highest vote-getter. An automatic recount in a primary election is triggered by a margin of less than 1 percent.

For ballot questions, measures and bond issues, the margin for an automatic recount is no more than one-quarter of 1 percent.

Demands for recounts in city or county elections must be made in writing within three days of a county canvassing board’s meeting. The candidate demanding a recount also must provide a bond for an amount previously set by the county auditor as the cost of conducting a recount.

County canvassing boards will meet Monday to review the June 14 election results. The State Canvassing Board will meet 9 a.m. Friday in Jaeger’s office at the Capitol to certify the results.

Three local races across the state may be close enough to trigger automatic recounts: the mayoral race in Hannaford, and council seats in Fairmount and Beach. Ballot measures in the cities of Dawson, Fullerton and Pettibone also may get automatic recounts.

In addition, nine local races have the potential for demand recounts. Three are for seats on park boards in Casselton, Larimore and Minot. Three are for school boards: Fargo, Grand Forks and Mandan. There’s also a possibility of demand recounts for Bismarck and Bowman city commissions, as well as a council seat in Harwood.

Jaeger said having so many races close enough for recounts isn’t unusual.

“They’re the general elections for the cities,” Jaeger said. “When you have the smaller cities, that’s more likely to happen.”

For more election results and recount information, visit www.sos.nd.gov.

(Reach Nick Smith at 701-250-8255 or 701-223-8482 or at nick.smith@bismarcktribune.com.)

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