More than 21,000 ballots cast already for ND's primary election

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FARGO — Although the June 12 primary election is a week away, more than 21,000 ballots have been cast already by residents across the state who voted early by mail or absentee.

Monday, June 4, was the first day for voters in Cass County to get their ballots in early. So far, about half of the 823 vote-by-mail and absentee ballots sent to voters have been returned.

This is reflective of North Dakota's statewide early voting results so far as of Monday, with 38,750 ballots sent out and 56 percent, or 21,769, returned, according to results on the Secretary of State's website.

Monday was the first day of early voting in Cass County, and eligible voters can vote early until Friday, June 8, at one of three designated polling sites throughout the county.

Early voting is popular here among elderly residents wanting to avoid the election day hustle and bustle. Most states offer some form of voting early, and a handful will only let someone vote early with a valid excuse for not voting on election day.

When early voting was first implemented in 2004 in North Dakota, the turnout on the very first day in Cass County was 500, far exceeding estimates.

There were 553 early voters in Cass County by the time polls closed Monday.

Mike Montplaisir, Cass County's auditor, said he doesn't expect the first day of early voting to surpass 2016 because it's not a presidential election year. In 2016, nearly 800 people voted on the first day, followed by nearly 2,000 on the second day.

Across the Red River, Minnesota residents can vote early for the state's Aug. 14 primary election via absentee ballot and in person at the Clay County Courthouse, 807 11th St. N., starting Friday, June 29 and continuing through Monday, Aug. 13.

Early primary voting locations in Cass County include:

• Ramada Inn, 3333 13th Ave. S., Fargo; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 4-8

• DoubleTree by Hilton, 825 E. Beaton Drive, West Fargo; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 4-8

• Days Inn, 2050 Governor's Drive, Casselton; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 6-8