Early voting becoming more popular in ND

Nov 6, 2018

Many North Dakotans voted early in this mid-term election.

As of mid-afternoon Monday, the Secretary of State's office reported 144,774 people had voted absentee or used early voting precincts. That compared with 134,804 in 2016, and 136,685 in 2012.

"People casting ballots before election day -- we've done a brisk business," said Burleigh County Auditor Kevin Glatt.

Glatt said last Friday was a record for the early voting precinct – more than 1100 people voted that day. He said having an early precinct helps take some of the pressure off of his office, in terms of the absentee ballots.

"They're (absentee ballots" are very labor-intensive," Glatt said. "The early vote helps alleviate and reduce the costs for absentee ballots."

Glatt said absentee ballots cost about $2 to send. He said both parties had a very concentrated push for absentee ballots.

"On four different occasions, I received absentee ballot applications," Glatt said. "I've got 77,000 printed ballots in my office -- I don't need one of the parties sending me an application."

Glatt said it's obvious some voters like the convenience of voting early.

"One of the parties had, on one of the absentee applications, 'Your polling place is as close as your mailbox' or 'You can vote from home on your easy chair,'" Glatt said. "People are showing us they like that."

Glatt said it may cause election officials to rethink how they do things.

"A couple of weeks ago, Sen. Dick Dever (R-Bismarck) was in the office, and I showed him the volume of absentee ballot applications we had," Glatt said. "I reminded him that, when I stood up before a Legislative committee he chaired in 2001, I told him that, 'We're going to let the genie out of the bottle, and once he's out, we won't get him back in.'"