Primary turnout strong statewide with 24 percent of eligible voters casting ballots
BISMARCK— Almost 140,000 ballots were cast in the North Dakota primary election Tuesday.
The North Dakota Secretary of State's website showed 138,685 ballots cast, or 24.3 percent of the state's estimated voting age population, with all 432 precincts reporting. That exceeded voter turnout during the 2014 June primary, when 93,624 ballots were cast.
Turnout in the 2012 primary was 175,303, according to the Secretary of State's Office, and in 2010 it was 102,066.
The Secretary of State's Office reported 47,504 ballots were cast before the day of the election, compared with 33,979 in the 2014 primary. Those figures include people who voted absentee, by mail and early in-person.
North Dakota election officials said there were few problems with voter identification Tuesday.
Deputy Secretary of State Jim Silrum said about 4:30 p.m. staff members there had no more than 10 calls on voter ID issues over the course of the day.
That sentiment was echoed by county auditors across the state. Cass County Auditor Michael Montplaisir said they had "not very many" calls about voter identification there.
"It's been a lot less of a problem than it has before," he said.
Valid forms of ID in North Dakota are a current driver's license or a non-driver's identification card, tribal government-issued identification or a long-term care certificate. The ID must include the voter's name, current residential address and date of birth.
Amber Gudajtes, an election inspector at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, said some people came with IDs that didn't match where they currently live, but they were able to update their addresses.
"As soon as they show that they've updated it on the (Department of Transportation) website, they can take that and they can see that verification," she said.
DPI, Supreme Court races
Incumbent Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler bested challenger Joe Chiang with 71.7 percent of the vote, compared with Chiang's 28 percent as of 10:40 p.m. Tuesday. In incomplete and unofficial totals, Baesler garnered 75,496 votes to Chiang's 29,461.
As the two candidates for the nonpartisan position receiving the highest number of votes Tuesday, Baesler and Chiang will move on to the general election.
In another nonpartisan race, Jerod Tufte was outpacing Robert Bolinske Sr. for a seat on the North Dakota Supreme Court with 55.2 percent of the vote to Bolinske's 44.5 percent as of 10:40 p.m. Both of those candidates go to the general election as well.