FARGO, N.D. (Forum Communications) — Voters in North Dakota broke the record for early voting this year, with at least 132,262 votes cast by absentee, vote-by-mail or at an early voting precinct by 7 p.m. Monday — a total that will increase as last-minute ballots are counted.
The record was set in the 2008 presidential election, when 122,377 people cast votes before Election Day.
“It doesn’t surprise me because of the fact that we have more people (in the state) and the intensity of everyone wanting to encourage their supporters to vote early,” said Secretary of State Al Jaeger.
Jaeger said he expects about a 65 percent state turnout, but because of a growing state population, the actual number of voters could be a record.
In 2008, 64 percent of 496,906 eligible voters cast a ballot in North Dakota, making for 321,113 votes. This year, there are 532,776 eligible voters, meaning 346,305 voters would have to show up to hit 65 percent. The record turnout was 69 percent in 1984, when 324,179 ballots were cast.
As of Monday, 41,298 had cast a ballot at early polling precincts in Burleigh, Cass, Grand Forks, Morton, Stark, Stutsman and Ward counties. Polls closed on Friday in all of them except Burleigh, Morton and Stutsman, which were open Monday. In 2008, 52,411 people cast a ballot at early voting locations.
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