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Mail-in ballots due soon for June 9 election

By Staff | Jun 5, 2020


Staff Writer




Ahead of June 8 and 9 deadlines for mail-in ballots, Pierce County election officials report things are running smoothly.

Pierce County Auditor Karin Fursather said in an email to the Tribune her office is experiencing “no issues” since Pierce County was designated a vote-by-mail county.

Fursather reported 1,356 ballot requests have been received by the auditor’s office and, as of Monday, 728 ballots were returned.

Completed ballots returned by mail must be postmarked June 8. Voters wishing to hand deliver their completed ballots to the auditor’s office in the Pierce County Courthouse must do so by 4 p.m. June 9, according to vote.nd.gov.

Voters wishing to hand deliver completed school board ballots must do so by 4 p.m. on June 8. A drop box is available at Rugby High School for the ballots.

Rugby Public Schools Business Manager Dawn Hauck said her office received 682 applications for school board election ballots. “So far, we have received 322 back,” Hauck said.

Hauck cautioned voters in the school board election to make sure they place their printed names on the ballots.

“The school did not provide the printed name on the back of the envelope and asked that the voter to fill it in with either their printed name or an address sticker,” Hauck said. “I don’t think some people saw that part. This caused us to rely only on the signature, which was not legible in some instances. If we cannot figure out the signature and compare it to the ballot application, then we would have to throw those ballots out since we cannot verify that they are eligible voters.”

Candidates for the Rugby Public School Board on this election’s ballot are Kris Blessum and Carlie Johnson, both incumbents.

Candidates for Rugby City Council on the June ballot are Gary Kraft and Dave Schneibel for Ward 2 and Frank LaRoque for Ward 3. Tim Bartsch, Rick Larson and Sara Radomski are candidates for the Rugby Park Board.

Mike Christenson is the incumbent Pierce County Commission candidate for District 2 on the ballot, while Terry Hoffert is the incumbent candidate for the commission’s District 4.

Republican candidates for state office include congressional candidate Kelly Armstrong, District 14 senate candidate Jerry Klein and District 14 state representative candidates Jon Nelson and Robin Weisz.

Representative Jon Nelson said he and two other incumbents representing District 14, State Sen. Jerry Klein and Rep. Robin Weisz , bring experience to Bismarck. “I think we’re well respected,” he said. “Representative Weisz is the chairman of the Human Service Committee. I’m the chairman of the Human Resource subsection of Appropriations.”

Jon Nelson said the three legislators’ experience has helped the rural district get attention as it competes with larger, more urban districts. “Senator Klein is the chairman of the Industry, Business and Labor Committee in the State Senate, so from a rural district perspective, there’s not a rural district that has more influence in the legislature than District 14 from a chairmanship standpoint.”

“I think to continue the work that we’ve been able to do for local residents and people in North Dakota, we’d be an excellent choice to continue working for the people of North Dakota,” Jon Nelson noted.

Democrat Mark Nelson, who is also running as a District 14 representative, told the Tribune, “We need property tax relief, which will not only help our family farmers with operating capital and retirement planning, but put more money into our struggling local economies.”

Mark Nelson added, “Every time an incumbent talks about cutting taxes and reducing spending, what they are really saying is they are going to shove mandates down to the county level and your property taxes will go up. We actually have to look to the future and not avoid our responsibilities. Look at the shape our roads and bridges are in, and the financial challenges facing our hospitals. Taking care of our infrastructure is an easy way to help our local economies grow.”

Mark Nelson’s resume includes farming, operating heavy equipment, working as a mechanic’s helper, photographer, and parts man bartender and television cameraman. He is a graduate of Minot State University.

Democrat Jenna Vanhorne is running for the State Senator’s office in District 14.

In an email to the Tribune, Vanhorne said, “COVID has changed the way we do everything, from buying groceries to how we conduct business, it seems nothing has gone untouched from this pandemic. We have seen meat prices in the grocery store skyrocket, while farmers are having to kill stock because there’s no place for them to be processed and no food for them to eat.

“We must focus our energy and funds on stabilizing North Dakota’s economy for our small farmers and consumers. For this reason, I am chairing an initiated measure to form state owned meatpacking facilities in this state. This will create jobs for North Dakotans and have a positive fiscal note for the state.”

The email described Vanhorne as “a 5th generation dairy farmer/rancher. She lives on her family’s original homestead,” the message said. “She attended school in Steele and graduated from BSC. She farms with her daughter, Aurora, her son, Storm and her mom, Carrie Truax. Jenna is running for a seat in the Senate because she believes that small farmers have been placed on the back burner for years while corporation farming, and other corporate interests and their big money have taken up all our Legislature’s attention.”

The North Dakota Secretary of State’s website, vote.nd.gov says the vote-by-mail system was implemented statewide for this election in response to a government mandate to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The voting system being used in the June 9 election is the same system and equipment used by the state of North Dakota for all state and federal elections,” a statement on the website read. “North Dakota’s election systems are secure, have built-in redundancies and have been subject to security testing.”

“North Dakota always uses a paper-based voting system,” the statement added. “This means that there is a paper record of every vote cast and these ballots can be re-tabulated if needed.”

North Dakota has no voter registration process.

“In order to vote by mail,” the statement noted, “North Dakota voters must verify the same eligibility with identification as they would at the polls. The information completed on the application will be compared to that on the ballot return envelope to confirm eligibility according to North Dakota state law.”

Voters wishing to track their completed application online may do so at vip.sos.nd.gov/ and click on the yellow “Check My Ballot Status” button.

Residents not receiving ballots or ballot applications may call the Pierce County Auditor’s office at 776-5225 ext. 2100.

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