Nearly 40 Percent Of North Dakota Voters Cast Ballots Early, Up From 2010


Back in September SAB columnist James Kerian wrote in a column that Republicans, who typically disdain early voting, must adapt to it. “In a contest we must let our actions be guided by what the rules are, not what we would wish them to be,” he wrote.

That statement is looking wise in light of the fact that 97,140 voted before election day in North Dakota in the 2014 cycle.

Overall 255,128 ballots were cast in 2014 (a 46.81 percent turnout), so just over 38 percent of all voters cast their ballots early.

That’s actually down slightly from last cycle. In 2012 there were 132,693 votes cast via absentee ballots or early voting out of a total 324,597 votes. That’s a 40.8 percent early voting rate.

It is up from our last midterm election, though. In 2010 there were 88,179 early votes cast which was 36.6 percent of the total turnout.

Still, it’s clear that early voting is here to stay. With so many participating, it’s hard to imagine the state ever going back to a situation where everyone votes on election day, and only votes absentee with a valid excuse.

That might not be such a bad thing. I have no problem with conveniencing voters. Fraud is the big concern, so as long as the state holds the line on voter ID laws, this relatively new era of early voting should be just fine.