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Voters turn out for snowy Election Day

After record numbers of early and absentee voting before Election Day, residents of Grand Forks still turned out to the polls in the thousands despite blustery weather Tuesday.

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Allison Bailey holds her 3-month-old son, Hudson, as she votes for the first time at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks Tuesday. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

After record numbers of early and absentee voting before Election Day, residents of Grand Forks still turned out to the polls in the thousands despite blustery weather Tuesday.

Alan Wentz voted at City Hall shortly before 10 a.m. He said it was important to show up to the polls.

“I want to get the right people in, the people who will do a good job,” Wentz said.

Wentz said he thought Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, was one of those people.

He worked at American Crystal Sugar during its worker lockout and said Heitkamp showed concern for the well-being of those who were locked out.

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“She helped us out,” Wentz said.

Jake Bourboun, a poll inspector at City Hall, said he voted against Measure 3.

“(Measure 3) is terribly written,” Bourboun said. “It’s 2018 and times are changing, but I think that this is a wasted opportunity for revenue. We should regulate it if we legalize it.”

Bourboun said he wished North Dakota would have used other states that have legalized marijuana successfully as a blueprint.

For first-time voter James Votava, a senior at Sacred Heart High School, it was important that he have his voice heard.

“This is one of the few privileges you have as a citizen,” Votava said. “The people run the government in America, not the government.”

Votava said it also didn’t hurt that he got to skip government class to go vote.

Voters were waiting in line at the Alerus Center for up to 30 minutes.

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Kelsey Clifford, who voted at the Alerus Center, said that it was important to vote so North Dakotans could get what they want.

“The only way we’re going to get what the majority of the state wants is if the majority of the state gets out and votes,” Clifford said.

Eva Rose, a UND student from Minneapolis who has lived Grand Forks for three years, said she was not able to vote because she did not have a driver’s license with her local address, a new requirement in this election in North Dakota.

She said she did not use the option of a “set-aside” ballot until she could update her ID because she did not believe she could transfer her car insurance or get the other necessary documents in time.

“A lot of people are in the same boat as me,” said Rose, who heard from about a dozen students who did not have IDs showing local addresses.

In East Grand Forks, voters were filtering in and out of voting locations at a steady pace. As of 3 p.m., more than 300 voters had cast their ballots at City Hall, while almost 400 went to the polls at the Senior Center.

Ed Mack of East Grand Forks said he wanted to make sure the right people were in office, especially at a national level. His wife, Bonnie, said she was not impressed with the rhetoric of President Donald Trump and other national leaders.

“He says nasty things,” she said. “I believe we need more kindness in the world.”

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“Our president has no moral standards, and it trickles on down to the other seats too,” her husband said.

 

Herald reporters April Baumgarten and Christopher Bjorke contributed to this report.

Related Topics: ELECTION 2018
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