FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - With Election Day coming in less than 24 hours, many locals are scrambling to make sure they have the proper identification to vote. But did you know: you could have an extra week to present your ID if you cast a set-aside ballot?
This happened to me last week when I went out to early vote: I didn't have the proper identification on me, so I was turned away at the door. Then, later in the week I came to find out, the poll workers should have told me about a set-aside vote. I could have voted right then and there—and then I'd have an extra week to bring the correct ID to the Cass County auditors at the local courthouse.
Once I learned this info, I went back and requested a set-aside ballot. There was still a lot of confusion among the workers, though we eventually got it all straightened out. So we went back out today to see if most knew about this ballot. And like me, they didn't.
Caleb Niemann recently moved here from Illinois. When we ran into him, he was venturing into the packed Fargo driver’s license office for a last-minute North Dakota ID, all so he could vote in Tuesday’s election.
"I tried to do the early voting thing last week...and the people in charge were saying, 'Oh sorry, we know the website's unclear, but yeah you can't do that," Niemann said.
Niemann didn't have a North Dakota ID yet—but according to Cass County's election coordinator, DeAnn Buckhouse, the workers should have told him about the set-aside vote.
"Basically just giving us all their information,” Buckhouse said, “they vote a ballot, they seal it in an envelope and that gets held until...they bring in the necessary ID."
The upside to this? You have a whole extra week to pop in to the Cass County Courthouse and show your ID for your vote to count.
Unfortunately, most don't know about this.
Niemann says when he was turned away from early voting, no one had told him about the set-aside ballot.
"They said, like, 'Oh you can go to the DMV real quick and come back,’ and so that's what we tried to do,” Niemann said. “I hadn't heard of this set-aside thing."
Neither had Kindred, N.D. voter, Mark Burke—also at the driver's license division to change his ID for voting purposes.
"I do now that you told me," Burke said.
So why aren’t the poll workers telling people about the set-aside vote?
"They should have,” Buckhouse said. “...I don't know if they just forget about it...unfortunately, they're not perfect and they receive two hours of training before each election...but I've touched base with my inspectors a couple of times, just asking them to remind the clerks that, you know, 'we're supposed to be giving this option to everyone.'"
As for new Fargo neighbor, Caleb Niemann—he walked into the license office, saw the three-hour wait and walked right back out.
"You're saving me potentially three hours,” he said, “so I appreciate it."
Now that he knows he has another week to change his ID.
Cass County says you can still do a set-aside ballot Tuesday on Election Day as well. According to Buckhouse, typically the poll workers will still want whatever form of ID you have.
But if you have no ID, she says you can still do a set-aside ballot—but it's important to remember you must present your proper ID by the following week, in order for your vote to count.
You have until the canvassing board meets, which will be the following Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 10 a.m.