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Mary Graner, right, of Huff, was among those voting early at the Morton County Courthouse in Mandan for the 2018 primary election. Election worker Regina Marthaller, left, said 123 people had voted early as of 10:30 a.m.

Votes by mail, by absentee ballots and at early voting centers accounted for almost 39 percent of the 115,226 ballots cast in North Dakota’s June 12 primary.

North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger said the early voting figures are “fairly similar” to previous elections. 

"It's kind of ranged in about the same percentage as in other years," he said Tuesday.

Mail ballots accounted for about two thirds of early voting in North Dakota’s primary. Jaeger noted that absentee ballots require the voter to take initiative in requesting, whereas a mailer sent to county residents asks if they’d like to request a mail ballot. About 33 counties offer voting by mail.

Absentee ballots totaled about 13 percent of ballots cast before the primary, according to state results.

Burleigh County counted 1,147 absentee and vote-by-mail ballots, while Morton County tallied 267, with 387 early voters. 

Early voting turnout notched 9,245 ballots before the primary.

Jaeger said early voting centers may be more popular in the general election. Turnout is hard to peg as 2018 is not a presidential election year, which can attract more voters. But Jaeger said North Dakota’s high-profile U.S. House and Senate races may bring higher turnout.

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Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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Crime and Courts Reporter