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1910 Primary Election

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A primary election was held on this date in 1910 in North Dakota, except the date was advertised incorrectly multiple times in Billings County newspapers.

Part of it was wrong, according to the Golden Valley Chronicle. At that time, Golden Valley County had not yet become a separate county, and was still a part of Billings County. The county auditor had submitted the details of the election to the papers in Beach and Medora, but the date was listed as June 24 rather than the 29th. And while the township outside of Beach was listed as a voting precinct, it appeared that residents within Beach were not included as voters.

The paper reporter that notices will probably be posted by the city officials, and an election held in the city notwithstanding. Further, no names of any candidates were reported in the notice. There was concern that this would cause botched results, and any close race could be contested. The Golden Valley Chronicle wrote, "The county auditor has made a bad mess of the proceedings so far, and it is a safe bet that it will end in court proceedings before it is over."

This may have been a simple unintentional, though sloppy, error, but the fact that other county politics were ongoing throughout western North Dakota did not improve the perception. Reports around the state noted various events unfolding. Medora was the county seat, but residents of Beach had their eyes on taking that honor for itself at the next general election. Marmarth, also part of Billings County, hoped to separate and also become a county seat in a new county. Meanwhile, Hettinger County wanted to annex part of Billings County.

By the end of the year, some of this seemed poised to occur. Voters in the general election had approved dividing the region to create Slope and Golden Valley, though it would be two years before Golden Valley would unentangle its border with Billings County. Despite all the confusion leading up to the vote, the job got done. The 1910 results in Billings County, though delayed, were ultimately straightforward.

Dakota Datebook by Sarah Walker

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