Voters arrived early at Minot's four polling places and continued to arrive at a steady pace throughout Tuesday's election. Lines of voters were lengthy at times during the day but the pace of voting was brisk and no major delays occurred.
Devra Smestad, Ward County auditor, said some lessons were learned from the primary this past June that helped facilitate a more efficient voting process.
"The changes we made moved the process along considerably," said Smestad. "We programmed all of the scanners the same. Instead of having to sort by scanner where to put a ballots, they were able to put in in any scanner they wanted to. That helped. We didn't have any long lines at any one scanner."
Poll workers at Maysa Arena kept busy during Tuesday’s election. Voter turnout at the southwest Minot polling place was considered high.
Additional poll books were also added at the polling sites, meaning people had greater opportunities to sign in and receive ballots. The voting rooms were also set up to help expedite better voter flow.
"The traffic flowed better. It was just a combination of things to move the process along," explained Smestad. "Of course, having a one page ballot versus a two page ballot was a bonus. I didn't hear any complaints."
One of the busiest voting locations was Lewis and Clark Elementary in northwest Minot. More than 2,400 ballots had been cast at the location by 4:15 Tuesday. That compares to a total vote count of about 1,700 in the June primary.
"Today has been real steady. We had a couple of lull spots which we didn't really expect but, for the most part, it's been busy all day long. It is working out really good," said Joylea Knutson, veteran poll worker, late Tuesday afternoon.
The rapid growth of the city did catch some poll workers by surprise when trying match up voters with their addresses. In some cases the addresses were so new they weren't on any maps of the city.
"Some of them we had no idea about," said Knutson. "It's kind of a handicap."
"Some of those addresses don't have street signs or anything at this point," said Smestad. "They just have to pinpoint it on the map and show us where they live and we do our best to confirm it. That's the best we can do right now. Things are popping up so fast and furious. As fast as Minot is growing, it's really hard for anybody to keep up."
Voter turnout was brisk at Maysa Arena in southwest Minot. Shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday vehicles were parked in the upper lot at Maysa as a steady stream of voters headed into the building. Poll worker Brenda Willoughby reported nearly 2,000 votes cast at Maysa by 3:30 Tuesday.
"It's a good turnout. We're real pleased with it," said Willoughby. "Voting has been excellent. Everything has been smooth."
Similar reports were received from Minot's remaining two polling sites late Tuesday First Assembly of God in southeast Minot and Church of Christ in the northeast. According to Brenda Lokken, poll worker at First Assembly of God, that location was very busy with everything flowing smoothly. No problems were reported.
Mae McKinley was helping staff poll workers at Church of Christ. She has been doing so for more than 10 years.
"It's been very good. It has not been over busy, but it's been steady," said McKinley late Tuesday.