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Secretary of state candidate blasts Jaeger on website problem

Secretary of state candidate blasts Jaeger on website problem

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BISMARCK, N.D. — A Democratic-NPL Party candidate took aim at a technical problem that struck the North Dakota Secretary of State's website for part of Tuesday's primary election night shortly after results began coming in.

April Fairfield, who is running against Republican Secretary of State Al Jaeger, called Tuesday evening's website issues "part of the pattern" of mistakes being made in the office.

"There are few words I can express," Fairfield said. "I was shocked and very disappointed."

Shortly after 8 p.m., when results began appearing on the Elections and Voting portal at www.nd.gov/sos, technical problems occurred made to the site difficult if not impossible for a period of time.

Jaeger said he'd been alerted to the problem shortly after it occurred. He attributed the site problems to an Information Technology Department problem.

"It was disappointing; something to do with servers," Jaeger said. "(They) had to reboot servers."

Jaeger said it was something that would have to be reviewed in the coming days.

"Tomorrow when things settle down … (we'll) take steps to make sure it doesn't happen again," Jaeger said Tuesday night.

Fairfield, who's made the operation of the secretary of state's office in areas such as IT an issue since launching her campaign, wasn't buying it.

"I'm really tired of hearing excuses for the secretary of state's mistakes," Fairfield said. "I think the people of North Dakota deserve better."

Unofficial results from Tuesday's election put turnout at 93,377 votes, or 17.13 percent, out of 545,020 eligible voters.

It was the lowest vote total in a North Dakota primary election since 2004, when 92,209 votes were cast.

Turnout that year was 19 percent; however, the number of eligible voters was lower at that time, with 487,010.

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

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