Dunn County switched to vote by mail before this year’s Primary Election in June, with the intention someone could just walk to his/her mailbox instead of having to drive to the polls, but some voters are not thrilled with the change, or how it was done.
Joletta Birdbear lives on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in rural Mandaree, usually votes at the North Fox polling station.
“It is located three miles from my physical residence in rural North Dakota”
The North Fox polling location has been closed, and Birdbear said she had to take a 80 mile roundtrip to vote at the courthouse in Manning, ND on Tuesday with a Wind Advisory issued by the Nation Weather Service for the surrounding counties including Dunn County.
“That was closed without my notification as well as for the other voters in my community, ” said Birdbear.
Dunn County went to vote by mail to increase voter turnout, and six of the counties eight polling stations were closed.
The only locations currently open to voters on election day are in Manning and Twin Buttes, and Dunn County Auditor Tracey Dolezal said people were notified of the changes before the June Primary.
“We made every attempt . . notices were sent out. . . we put it on our website, newspaper”.
Birdbear who has voted all her life said she prefers to vote in person.
“I want my vote counted. I want to see it physically counted”.
After the election she wants the elected officials to bring her polling place back, so people who prefer to vote on person don’t have to travel as far.
“In the next election I want to vote in my precinct in North Fox, “said Birdbear.
The Dunn County auditor said they had 975 mail in ballots cast for the June Primary election, and as of Tuesday morning they have received almost 1400 mail in ballots.