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Sioux County going 'mail-in-ballot' elections permanently

The Sioux County Auditor said that county’s first experience with “voting by mail” went very well.

So well, in fact, that the November general election will be done by mail as well.

The primary was conducted that way, with Gov. Doug Burgum suspending the requirement that counties conducting mail elections would have to have one polling place.

"It was my first year running elections," said Sioux County Auditor Cassie LeCompte. "I had no past knowledge to go off of running elections."

LeCompte said the election ran smoothly. She said the tribe and county worked to make sure eligible voters got their ballots. And LeCompte said  on election day, there were about 30 people waiting outside her office with questions on filling out the ballots. LeCompte said many had never voted before.

"We had a lot of young people, who never voted before," LeCompte said.

Normally, the county would have had five voting precincts. And LeCompte said before Burgum's order, she was worried about getting enough people to staff those polling places.

"Especially with this pandemic, they don't want to work," LeCompte said. "They're scared."

So, LeCompte said she presented a plan to the Sioux County Commission, to convert the county to “vote by mail” full-time. And she said Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Mike Faith supported that idea.

The Commission approved it.

"So, for the November election, instead of waiting for an order, the Tribe and the county decided we're going to be 'vote by mail,'" LeCompte said.

LeCompte said the one precinct that will be open is the Sioux County Courthouse, unless Burgum issues another executive order.

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