Butch Frank says a bunch of voters in New England did not agree with making Mott the only polling location in the county.
“You’re looking at about a two hour turnaround for voting in person and most people felt we should have had a polling place here in town or at least more centrally located. “
Frank is a city councilman. He says he is not speaking on behalf of the city.
But, he says he thinks before the primary in June, a good chunk of people didn’t know that they couldn’t vote in town.
“I’m sure that most of them thought that this was going to be an additional way of voting as far as in addition to the polling and most of them that I talked to threw away their applications. “
The Hettinger County Commission decided to go with a vote-by-mail system and make Mott the only polling location in the county in a March meeting.
Frank acted a shuttle service for people who wanted to vote in person in the primaries. He says he’ll continue to do it for the general election.
“If they want to take the time to take the long ride, I’ll be happy to bus them there.”
We talked with Hettinger County Auditor Jeri Schmidt and she says she thought the change would make it more convenient for people to vote in the county.
“I’m trying to save the people time,” Schmidt said. “if it was inclement weather then they wouldn’t have to be dressed up [in blizzard-like conditions] and vote at the convenience of their homes.”
Schmidt says one of the biggest reasons they decided to make the change was their inability to find people to work at the polling locations.
“It was hard to try to find poll workers. I was always rushing at the end trying to fulfill and get the poll workers fully staffed for that precinct.”
She says with the new system, it also save the county money.
Schmidt adds, the county commission will reevaluate the new voting system after the election.
The county sent out more than 700 mail-in applications and got back 420 as of today. She says so far voter turnout doesn’t look like it is going to be affected a great deal.