Absentee and vote-by-mail ballots in the state already have surpassed the total of those cast in the 2014 mid-term election — a harbinger of the high interest in this year's political process which seems to be motivating voters to the polls.
As of 4 p.m. Thursday, absentee and vote-by-mail ballots totaled 76,713. In addition, 14,912 voters had cast their ballots in early voting at the polls. In 2014, the absentee and vote-by-mail ballots for the general election totaled 65,178. That year, there was a total of 255,128 votes cast, representing 46 percent of the state's eligible voters.
In comparison to 2016, a presidential election year which tends to draw more voters, the gap is closing. The 2016 absentee and vote-by-mail ballots totaled 83,653. That year, there were a total of 349,945 votes cast, representing 61 percent of the state's eligible voters.
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In Burleigh County, 8,195 absentee and vote-by-mail ballots have been returned so far. In addition, 4,885 residents have participated in early voting.
In Morton County, 2,407 absentee and vote-by-mail ballots have been returned so far. In addition, 1,739 residents have participated in early voting.