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ACLU of North Dakota makes election recommendations for Cass County

A group of volunteers observed election proceedings in this fall.

A group of 25 volunteers who observed early in-person voting and election day voting in Cass County have made recommendations for future elections to be run more smoothly and efficiently.

The volunteers were recruited by the ACLU of North Dakota, North Dakota Voices Network and the League of Women Voters of the Red River Valley. They also observed election worker training and the Cass County canvassing board.

Cody Schuler is advocacy manager for the ACLU of North Dakota. He says the volunteers were assembled after the June 2022 primary and incidents of voter suppression within the county.

Schuler says despite historic low voter turnout, voters encountered long lines on election day, and he says even if those lines were moving quickly it can still discourage voters from staying to cast votes. Schuler says one recommendation from the volunteers was to improve poll worker training on when to offer a voter provisional ballots that can be filled out right then, and then verified with proper identification later.

"The reason that's so important is - if you just leave with plans to come back later - you might not come back. You're more likely to come back to verify a vote that's already been cast, rather than to come and vote after you get your documents together. We really want to make sure there's consistency - we've asked the county to really look at their training to make sure poll workers are always offering a provisional ballot, because we did see people that did leave the polls that should have been."

Other recommendations include expanding early voting hours, making sure signage with voting instructions and other information is posted in compliance with North Dakota Century Code, increased voter education regarding voter ID requirements and an improved canvassing board process with proper public notice.