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Published June 08 2012

With more than 6,100 early voters, Cass County sets June election record

FARGO – More than 6,100 Cass County residents participated in early voting this week, almost triple the number of ballots cast before the last June election two years ago.

Cass County election coordinator DeAnn Buckhouse said the rise in early voting can be attributed to both its popularity and the number of controversial issues on the June 12 ballot.

“Early voting is catching on, and people are becoming more and more aware of it as an option,” Buckhouse said.

Early voting in a June primary was first offered in 2008 in Cass County, when 1,927 residents participated.

In 2010, the county’s early turnout saw a slight increase, up to 2,133 voters.

But this week’s early voting turnout smashed both those previous records. A total of 6,147 Cass County residents cast ballots at the three available sites this week, Buckhouse said after the early voting polls closed Friday evening.

The south Fargo location was by far the most popular among early voters.

Buckhouse said 4,840 people cast ballots at the Hilton Garden Inn & Suites.

In comparison, 1,033 people voted at West Fargo’s Lodoen Kindergarten Center, while 274 people voted at the Casselton Days Inn, Buckhouse said.

Buckhouse said it’s hard to say whether the early voting crowds will be an indication of turnout on Tuesday, but “we do, overall, expect a higher turnout as opposed to, say, the last presidential primary.”

“There’s just more issues that people are really passionate about,” Buckhouse said. “People are stepping up and taking notice.”

Tuesday’s election includes a slate of local races and ballot measures, as well as primary contests for county and statewide office in North Dakota.

Although this week’s early voting set a record for a June election, it was still several thousand voters short of reaching early turnout records for recent general elections.

In 2010, 10,925 people voted early in Cass County, and in 2008 – the last presidential general election – 20,744 people cast early ballots, according to the auditor’s office.