Election Workers Adapting to New ND Mail-In Election

On election day, Buckhouse would usually be assisting hundreds of election workers with the various problems that arise at polling sites across Cass County, but today, her phone has been quiet.

FARGO, N.D. – “There’s a lot of difference between what we are doing now and a regular election cycle,” said Cass County Election Coordinator DeAnn Buckhouse.

According to DeAnn Buckhouse, this election cycle has had her staff adjust to a lot of changes, but it’s still keeping workers as busy as previous elections.

On election day, Buckhouse would usually be assisting hundreds of election workers with the various problems that arise at polling sites across Cass County.

She and her staff would normally be testing machines, and transporting equipment and supplies all over the county, but today, her phone has been quiet.

That’s because election workers are taking on a new task, counting our votes by mail, and they are doing it only a few feet from her office.

“Our goal is to have as many of those ballots accounted for and counted as possible today. We will work until they are done,” said Buckhouse.

This election, Buckhouse and her staff sent out over 37,000 ballots, which is over 10,000 more then they usually see at the polls and from absentee ballots in an election year.

Getting all of those ballots sent out was a new challenge for the election coordinator.

“I think having the adequate staffing and finding people who are willing to help in the presence of COVID-19 has been a challenge,” said Buckhouse.

Workers did not need a lot of extra training, just training for voting by mail.

The workers I talked to said that while this year has certainly been different then the elections they’ve worked in the past, they are up for the challenge, and believe the work is extremely important.

Buckhouse said that if all 37,000 ballots are returned, it would be a record high voter turn-out for a Cass County primary election.

“With a vote by mail election, you’re going to have a lot more ballots that don’t come in until after election day that are counted by the canvasing board, so there could be some surprises as far as results changing because of what comes in,” said Buckhouse.

While initial election results will be released today, finalized election results may take up to next Monday to be released.

Categories: Community, Coronavirus, Coronavirus-ND, North Dakota News, Politics / Elections