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Here’s what North Dakota, Minnesota voters will elect this year

What's on the ballot this year?

A lot, as usual. From U.S. senators to the Minnesota governor to many of North Dakota's top state officers, there's a plenty to keep track of.

Besides November's midterm elections, there are two important dates to remember. The first is the North Dakota primary election on June 12, when big races will pick party nominees. Chief among them is the U.S. Senate seat, which is expected to kick off a widely anticipated general election matchup between incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and challenger Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.

It's the same day that many cities and school districts will hold their own elections, too, and when many North Dakota counties will winnow down their fields of candidates for later in the year.

"For the primary in June, we are expecting—we're guessing—that there's going to be some competition amongst the primaries," Deputy Secretary of State Jim Silrum said, noting the especially busy slate of candidates on both sides of the U.S. House of Representatives race. "If there is a competitive race that's in the primary or the general that people really care about, that's going to motivate them to turn out to vote."

The second big date is the Minnesota primary, set for Aug. 14, when many state-level races, including governor, head to the ballot. Voters will likely see both Senate seats at once, an unusual prospect forced by the resignation of Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.

And, of course, many of the largest races culminate on Nov. 6, the date of this year's general elections. That's when voters in North Dakota could see several ballot measures, including the legalization of marijuana and the creation of personalized license plates for emergency responders. An item repealing Sunday closing laws could still technically appear, but a lead organizer said the petition drive backing it has been suspended.

This is the Herald's guide to keeping track of it all, which notes all statewide races as well as municipal races for elected office at the county and city level—though some smaller items, like conservancy boards or soil and water supervisors, are not listed here. Note that state ballot measures that aren't being circulated yet are not listed, and that unless otherwise noted, there is only one seat available in each race.

Here's a look at what's coming up:

State of North Dakota

June

U.S. senator

U.S. representative

State officers—secretary of state, attorney general, agriculture commissioner, tax commissioner and public service commissioner (two seats: six years and final two years of unexpired term)

Supreme Court justice

State senators and representatives— odd-numbered legislative districts

Various district court judges

November

This election will field the results of the June primary. For partisan races, that will include the top vote-getter for the party; for nonpartisan elections, the top two vote-getters advance.

Ballot measures—legalization of marijuana; establish personalized vehicle plates for volunteer emergency responders; repeal of Sunday closing laws (organizers have announced this item is unlikely to see the ballot)

City of Grand Forks

June

City Council—three seats in wards 2, 4 and 6.

Municipal judge

Park Board—three seats

School Board—five seats

November

No municipal items are set for the November ballot.

Grand Forks County

June

All races are nominating contests, meaning the top two candidates will move to the November ballot. In the case of the County Commission, where three at-large seats are available, the top six vote-getters advance.

County Commission — Three seats

State's Attorney

Sheriff

November

This election will field the results of the June primary.

Walsh County

June

All races are nominating contests, meaning the top two candidates will move to the November ballot. In the case of the County Commission, where three at-large seats are available, the top six vote-getters advance.

County newspaper

County Commission—three seats

Sheriff

State's attorney

Treasurer

November

This election will field the results of the June primary.

Grafton

June

Mayor

City Council—four seats

Park Board—three seats

School Board—three seats

November

No municipal items are set for the November ballot.

Traill County

June

All races are nominating contests, meaning the top two candidates will move to the November ballot. In the case of the County Commission, where three at-large seats are available, the top six vote-getters advance. The exception is the county newspaper, which will be decided in June.

County newspaper

County officers—county auditor, clerk of district court, state's attorney, county recorder, sheriff, Treasurer

County Commission—three seats

November

This election will field the results of the June primary, with the exception of the county newspaper.

Hillsboro

June

City Commission president

City Commission—two seats

Park Board—two four-year seats and one two-year seat

School Board—two seats

November

No municipal items are set for the November ballot.

Ramsey County

All races are nominating contests, meaning the top two candidates will move to the November ballot. In the case of the County Commission, where two at-large seats are available, the top four vote-getters advance.

June

Recorder

Treasurer

Auditor

State's attorney

Sheriff

County Commission—two seats

Ramsey County Garrison Diversion Conservancy Board

November

This election will field the results of the June primary.

Devils Lake

June

City Commission—three seats

Park Board—three seats

School Board—two seats

November

No municipal items are set for the November ballot.

State of Minnesota

August

Governor

Lieutenant governor

U.S. senator—one six-year term and one two-year term

U.S. representatives

State representatives

State officers—secretary of state, state auditor, attorney general, governor

Various district judges

November

This election will field the results of the June primary.

Polk County

August

The following races will appear on the primary ballot if three or more people file to run. The window to do so opens on May 22 and closes on June 5.

County Commission—two seats

Sheriff

County Attorney

November

This election will field the results of the June primary.

Crookston

August

There is no primary for city or School Board races in Crookston.

November

Mayor

City Council —four seats

School Board—three seats

Pennington County

August

Any seats in the November election for which three or more candidates file will appear on the primary ballot to winnow the number of candidates to two.

November

County Commission—two seats

Auditor/treasurer

Recorder

Attorney

Sheriff

Thief River Falls

August

There is no primary for city or School Board races in Thief River Falls.

November

Mayor

City Council—four seats

School Board—four seats

Sam Easter

Sam Easter is a City Government reporter for the Grand Forks Herald. You can reach him with story tips, comments and ideas at 701-330-3441.

(701) 780-1108
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