With election day three days away, Secretary of State Al Jaeger says North Dakotans should know the unofficial results of most elections the night of Nov. 3
This comes amid concerns that the uptick in mail-in voting could prolong the reporting process.
As of Saturday afternoon, there were roughly 240,000 ballots cast prior to the election. That’s nearly 70 percent of all votes cast in the 2016 election.
Jaeger says the high-speed scanners used by all county auditors to count ballots, plus a recent order by the governor to start processing ballots a few days before the election, should make it a smooth process. However, he did say that close elections won’t be called until later.
“We’ll have unofficial election results on election eve. The governor’s executive order was effective yesterday [Thursday] in terms of allowing the counties to start processing the ballots that are received. So from a time standpoint I think we’ll be really, really good,” Jaeger said.
North Dakota’s ACLU is asking voters be patient for the results since a mail-in ballot does take longer to process than one cast in person. ACLU Advocacy Director Dane DeKrey says with some of the closer races for state house or senate, it will be especially important to wait for full vote counts.
He added that at this point in the election, he recommends voting early, on election day or dropping off a ballot, instead of mailing it in, just to be safe with timing.
“We should just trust the process and believe that the Secretary of State is going to work to count the votes as fast as they can,” DeKrey said. “When they’re counted, then a result should be called. The biggest thing we don’t want is repeats of previous elections where it’s an early call, and then things change, and then the underlying faith in our democratic process is questioned.”
To find a ballot drop-off location near you — head to vote.nd.gov.