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Published May 10, 2012, 08:05 PM

Early Voting Coming Soon in Grand Forks County

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Voters in Grand Forks County can cast their primary ballots earlier this year, starting May 29.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Voters in Grand Forks County can cast their primary ballots earlier this year, starting May 29.

The county usually holds early voting for general elections only, but because of special circumstances this year, there will be eight days of early voting at the Alerus Center.

With changing precincts and the measures on the June 12 primary ballot, county officials are expecting a greater turnout and a bit more confusion at the polls.

"We went from 43 precincts down to 27 and so, just in case, I wanted to avoid long lines. There are going to be larger precincts, so if you know how you want to vote, go to the early voting precincts," Grand Forks County Auditor Debbie Nelson said.

Though June 12 is only a primary election, there are four statewide ballot measures, two of which have received a lot of attention.

Measure 4, the measure deciding if the University of North Dakota will be known as the Fighting Sioux, is being closely watched by the campus community.

"That's the only one they really are going to know anything about and so when it comes to voting, probably that will draw them out," UND freshman Jacob Osterman said.

The County Auditor's office has received 72 absentee ballots, but Nelson says she has received a stack of applications from UND students.

"Once students realize they can vote in North Dakota if you've lived here for 30 days, which is really nice, then most students will get out and vote. And it's always nice to have the ability to mail in a ballot too," UND Student Body Vice President Eric Watne said.

Though UND Student Government isn't pushing students to vote just because of Measure 4, they say more awareness of the issues may get them to the polls.

"I think the election as a whole, like I said, if you get students interested, you get them involved, you get them excited about it they'll be more inept to vote. They'll go out and vote," Watne said.

UND Student Government hopes to see more students casting ballots because of Measure 4's direct affect on the university.

Early voting will run May 29 to June 6, excluding Sunday June 3.

Weekday voting at the Alerus Center is from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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