Voting location confusion prevents some from casting ballot

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GRAND FORKS, N.D. (Valley News Live) Several people who came to vote at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks today were turned away.

"That's what I said, I go, "I would think you want my vote," said Julie Olien. "And they just said that's the way it is."

It's because she went to the wrong voting location.

"Just a lunch break right now. Go back to work. I don't have time to go to holy family," Olien said.

The confusion might be because the Alerus Center was the only place voters could cast a ballot in the last two votes in Grand Forks.

Not the case this time.

Olien works two jobs and said she doesn't have time to vote, "unless I can get out of work early."

She's not alone.

"Actually it has occurred quite a bit out here," said voting inspector Tom Harlow. "So, it does occur we do see it and then we have to send them to right locations."

Harlow said the reason why people need to go to certain locations, is because "who" is on the ballot may differ depending on which neighborhood you live in.

He also said there's some intentionality behind the old school methods. Keeping data and results stored locally makes it harder for someone to hack an election.

But, we asked about the ballots themselves. Why not generate a ballot based on the person, not the location, so people could vote where ever is most convenient?

"That's definitely thinking outside the box, where you generate the ballot to match where you walk in. That'd be like, 21st century. Wow," Harlow said.

A change that would have to take place with leaders in Bismarck to make voting more accessible to people like Olien.

"I get that they have people go to certain areas, but in a situation like this, I'd would think just take my vote," Olien said.