County prepares for another vote-by-mail election

Residents of the four Ward County precincts using vote-by-mail will be getting their general election ballots possibly by late September, according to the Ward County Auditor’s Office.

Ballots have yet to be printed, but Auditor Devra Smestad said the ballots will be mailed to those who have requested them as soon as they become available.

Residents in the Makoti, Ryder, Des Lacs and South Prairie precincts were sent absentee ballot applications earlier this year. Those who indicated on the applications that they wanted both the primary and general election ballots will automatically get their November ballots. Those who did not request the general election ballot should receive another application in 10 days or so.

Smestad said anyone who fails to receive an application can call her office and request one. Anyone also can go online to to download an absentee ballot application.

Information presented to the Ward County Commission showed voter numbers in the June primary were up in vote-by-mail precincts, compared to the last non-presidential year in 2014. This was despite complaints from some voters in the Makoti-Ryder area that they were not aware of the vote-by-mail and did not send back ballot applications. Residents who failed to receive ballots, or preferred to vote in person, were able to cast ballots at a poll in Minot.

Election figures on turnout showed:

– Makoti, 62 in 2018; 76 in 2016; and 52 in 2014.

– Ryder, 114 in 2018; 124 in 2016, and 48 in 2014;

– Des Lacs, 115 in 2018, 149 in 2016 and 102 in 2014.

– South Prairie, 89 in 2018, 79 in 2016 and 18 in 2014.

Early voting in person for the general election will be Oct. 29 to Nov. 2 at the county office building. The election is Nov. 6.