VALLEY CITY, N.D. (NewsDakota.com) – Barnes County Auditor Beth Didier said more than 2,500 ballots were cast in the June 2018 primary/election. She said 64 percent of those cast that year were absentee in Barnes County.
So far this year, she said more than 29-hundred ballot applications have been accepted and mailed out in a year where the June primary/election will be exclusively vote-by-mail.
Didier talked about the deadline to get your ballots back and she had a few reminders for voters during our Voice of the Valley program.
She said once you complete your ballot, place it in the drop box located at the north entrance of the Barnes County Courthouse in Valley City or place a stamp on it and mail it in.
The North Dakota Association of Counties offered this reminder for state residents:
Spokeswoman Donnell Preskey said auditors in North Dakota’s 53 counties want to stress the June election will be conducted by Vote by Mail only. No polling locations will be open in North Dakota on June 9th due to health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is important for North Dakota voters to recognize there will be no in-person voting anywhere in the state for the June election. Voting by mail will be the only option across the state. Voters should take the steps necessary to vote using Vote by Mail to ensure their vote is counted.”
Governor Doug Burgum issued Executive Order 2020-13 on March 26, 2020. This executive order allows counties to authorize Vote by Mail to hold an election in the safest manner possible for voters and election workers. The executive order also suspended the requirement for counties to have at least one physical polling location. County commissions in all 53 counties adopted Vote by Mail as the only method to conduct the June election. The Vote by Mail process makes it easy for all eligible voters in the state to have their vote counted. However, there are some dates to keep in mind to ensure your vote is counted.
The Vote-by-Mail process is outlined below:
The North Dakota Secretary of State’s Office has mailed ballot applications to 600,000 possible voters. If you have not received an application to receive your ballot, visit vote.nd.gov to download and print it out or contact your county auditor. Voters should complete the application for a ballot and mail it to their county auditor. Voters are highly encouraged to return their application by May 28, 2020 in order to receive their ballot in time. If a voter has not returned their application by May 28, 2020, they should contact their county auditor to get it to them ASAP by either email, fax or deliver it to the county auditor’s office.
After the voter’s application is received, the county auditor will mail the ballot to the voter.
The voter should complete their ballot. It is important for voters to put their ballot in the envelop provided, sign and date the back and mail it in individually.
Each ballot requires its own envelope, voters cannot put multiple ballots in an envelope.
Ballots must be postmarked by June 8th or dropped off at a secure ballot drop box in your county by 4 p.m. on June 9th. You can find a listing of secure ballot drop boxes here: Ballot Dropbox Listing by County Voters can track their ballot at vote.nd.gov
An ExpressVote assistive voting device will be available for voters needing assistance with their ballot. Voters wanting to use the ExpressVote should contact their county auditor to make an appointment, as most county courthouses have restricted public access.
County auditors would also like to remind voters to update their address with the North Dakota Department of Transportation if you have changed addresses. This can be done simply by contacting NDDOT at (701) 328-4353 or https://apps.nd.gov/dot/dlts/dlos/addressWelcome.htm.
Counties are seeing great voter participation in the Vote-by-Mail process. Counties have mailed an estimated 160,000 ballots to North Dakota voters. This exceeds the number of ballots cast in the June primaries in 2018 and 2016, with 115,226 and 139,959 ballots cast in those elections respectively.
North Dakota could experience record-setting voter participation if all voters remember to return their ballots. At the time of this release, 34,000 ballots have been returned. Voters must return their ballots by mail, postmarked by June 8th, or drop them off in a secure ballot drop box located in their county by 4 p.m. on June 9th.