North Dakota’s 2020 Primary Election Turnout Already Highest Since 2012

When COVID-19 hit North Dakota, one of the many Executive Orders Governor Doug Burgum signed was in relation to polling places. With the stroke of a pen, Burgum not only “strongly encouraged” the state’s 53 county commissions to authorize a mail-only election, but he paved the way for them to do so. And all 53 fell into line with the governor.

In the days leading up to yesterday’s mail-in deadline, some counties have actually permitted people to come into county courthouses and vote. Yet, in the weeks since the Executive Order, there’s been quite a bit of speculation on what this “mail-only election” might mean for voter turnout. And though there’s still votes to be received, we already have somewhat of an answer.

According to the numbers available on the Secretary of State website, North Dakota’s 2020 Primary Election has already surpassed voter turnout for both the 2018 (115,226) and 2016 (139,957) primaries. As of this writing, there are 141,102 ballots recorded as being returned (out of 196,112 sent out).

This is still quite a bit short of the 175,303 ballots cast in 2012, but if we consider it on the whole, this is pretty good turnout for a primary election in North Dakota. And again, let’s not forget that there’s still ballots on their way in.

With numbers like this, we’re left to wonder what’s driving the 2020 turnout? The ease of mail-in voting? A particular race or races? A combination of the two?

I’m interested in your thoughts. Feel free to share in the comments.



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About T. Arthur Mason 883 Articles
T. Arthur Mason is a native North Dakotan who has spent nearly all of his life in the Peace Garden State. As the third of four children in Western North Dakota, Mason grew to appreciate family and the outdoors. Some of his fondest memories are annual deer hunts with family and friends. In his early teenage years, faith became a central part of T. Arthur Mason's life. He and the majority of his family attend church together on a weekly basis and find this a fulfilling aspect of their lives. Through the influence of his father, T. Arthur Mason became intrigued with politics. As a boy, he attended political events with his father and enjoyed the friendships that resulted as a byproduct of those political associations. As Mason grew older, he became convinced that the quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson was true, "That government is best which governs least." Today, T. Arthur Mason enjoys time with his wife and children, an occasional hunt, and an increasingly active life on the political scene. This blog is the fulfillment of a dream to design a web site in the realm of politics and to advocate for the principles of Liberty and constitutionally limited government. On behalf of all those that contribute to The Minuteman, we hope you enjoy your time on the site and will share the message with others.