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Computers, Ballots & IDs Cause Minor Issues in Primary Voting - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Computers, Ballots & IDs Cause Minor Issues in Primary Voting

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It is a big night for some key races here in the Valley and across the state of North Dakota. The Cass county Auditor's office says they're on track to exceed voter turnout compared to the 2010 primaries, when presidential nominees were not on the ballot. As of 4:00 p.m. they say 8,553 votes have come in. If you factor in early voting and absentee ballots, and that number is 12,348.

Despite the turnout, there have been several issues at the polls with computers, ballots and with voter identification. At Bethel Church in south Fargo, space was an issue for voters. The location was forced to use a smaller room because of scheduling conflicts with the election and summer bible school.  Some voters say it was hard to vote in the smaller room.

"It would be nice if we had a larger room to go to," explains voter Donna Bladholm. "Especially for the people in wheel chairs, it is difficult to get around," she says. Another voter called Valley News Live with the same issue, saying older voters using walkers had a hard time voting because, at times, there wasn't enough space to sit down.

Overcrowding at the one location was just one of the issues the county was having. When polling locations opened on Tuesday morning, Cass County Auditor Michael Montplaisir said the E-poll books were having issues syncing up. Registration was a bit slow, but that issue was resolved quickly.

This is the first statewide election since the new voter ID law was passed. Poll workers say some voters were not coming in with updated IDs and they also encountered some not going to the right polling location. 

In Kindred, a handful of voters were upset when they learned City ballots were not placed out with the primary ballot when the polls opened.

"It was an oversight the second ballot got overlooked and not put out right away so we noticed the error corrected it and we had four people go through that didn't have the right ballot," says county election worker Alicia Nipstae.

Those four voters were not able to vote in the city election because of the oversight, and cannot go back to re-cast their vote. The county auditor says there are more than 100 different ballot styles for the 37 precincts and that the mistake has been corrected.  Montplaisir adds that every election has issues, and the key is to get through them and make corrections so they don't happen in the next election.

One most closely watched races in the area is the one for Fargo mayor. Incumbent Dennis Walaker is being challenged by Fargo City Commissioner Brad Wimmer. Two city commission seats are also up for grabs in Fargo.

Voters in Wahpeton, Valley City, Lisbon, Lidgerwood, Cooperstown and Cando are also picking mayors.

West Fargo voters are deciding who will fill two city commission seats, and are also being asked if they want to raise the city's sales tax to pay for building projects. If passed, West Fargo's sales tax would be the same as Fargo's -- up from 6.5% to 7.5%.

Cass County voters are filling two commission seats.

Voters across North Dakota are weighing in on a constitutional amendment that would change the filing deadline for initiated petitions from 90 to 120 days before a statewide election.

Polls in most communities are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Check back to Valleynewslive.com for the latest election results throughout the evening.

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