Fewer than half of Ward County voters turn out

Ward’s turnout of 46 percent beats past nonpresidential elections

Jill Schramm/MDN Ward County voters check in with election workers during early voting at the end of October.

Fewer than half of Ward County voters turned out Tuesday, but numbers still were well ahead of typical in the county for a nonpresidential election.

Figures from the Secretary of State show 24,363 ballots cast for a 46.1 percent turnout rate. Additional postmarked absentee ballots are likely to be added following canvassing next week.

In comparison, in the last nonpresidential election in 2014, unofficial results following polling showed 19,238 voters for about a 39 percent turnout rate. Turnout was 19,296 or 44.5 percent in 2010.

The presidential election in 2016 showed 27,708 voters for a 52 percent turnout rate in unofficial results.

Statewide turnout on Tuesday was 329,086 for about 56.8 percent. That compares with 349,945 voters, or 61 percent, in 2016 official figures and 255,128, or 46 percent, in 2014 official figures.

Ward County Auditor Devra Smestad said the local election went smoothly. The arrival of the last precinct information to the county building at 9:27 p.m. indicated wrap-up went quickly at all the polls once they closed at 7 p.m., she said.

The single polling place for Minot residents in the Minot Municipal Auditorium Armory made for long lines, but Smestad said lines moved efficiently so wait times generally were short. If there is an improvement to be made, she said, it would be to put in place directions to the elevator.