There will be in-person polling for the 2020 General (fall) election. Residents can vote at the Alerus Center, which will be the only in-person voting location in the county. This in-person voting site has been approved by the Grand Forks County Commission.
(1) You can vote during the early voting period (in-person voting at the Alerus Center):
(2) You can vote on Election Day (in-person voting at the Alerus Center) on Tuesday, November 3 (7:00 am to 7:00 pm) (as always, if you're in line at 7:00 pm. you will be allowed to vote.)
It is expected most residents will choose to vote by mail, and
(3) you can vote by mail.
Mail your completed and signed application to:
Grand Forks County Auditor’s Office
151 South 4th Street
Grand Forks, ND 58201
Your ballot should arrive within ten days of your application being submitted, starting on or around the last week of September. If you have questions, contact the County Auditor at 701-780-8200.
We spoke to the County Auditors office to ask this question, fully expecting the answer to the "yes." The answer we received is "yes, it will." Calling the auditor after October 1 if you've not received your ballot by then makes a lot of sense.
Do this first: Change your address with the Department of Motor Vehicles
Your new address will be reported on the state official roster of voters a couple of days after you submit the new address. If you're voting by person, take a piece of mail with you that shows your address - an Xcel bill or the like. If you're voting by mail, give it enough time to correct any mistakes that might occur (like they mail you the wrong ballot). Calling the auditor at 701-780-8200 is always okay.
North Dakota does not have a voter registration process, but in many ways uses its drivers license system, combined with 'voted in a recent election,' as a stand-in for a voter registration roll. If you are a new, full-year North Dakota resident (hooray!) getting your Drivers License will grant you access to a ballot.
If you're here for college, there are some additional things to consider. The legislature has been very clear about its intent to prevent out-of-state college students from voting in North Dakota.
Declaring yourself a resident of North Dakota for voting purposes does not automatically make you a resident for tuition purposes. Voting in North Dakota could put at risk your ability to continue to benefit from programs like WICHE or WUE or to receive your state-to-state tuition reciprocity from MT, SD, or MN, but still you could be billed at the out-of-state rate.
Why yes, we do: https://nd42.org/voting-und
Remember your ballot will be electronically scanned. Avoid errant pen markings or coffee stains. Color in your choices clearly. If you spoil your ballot, call the County Auditor to discuss a replacement ballot.
Package up your ballot inside the secrecy sleeve, then the sleeve holding the ballot into the provided return envelope. Your signature on the outer envelope will be compared to the signature on your drivers license (if you do the electronic application) or the signature on your paper application.
You can return your ballot by mail or in a secure dropbox.
(If you mail your ballot), the outer envelope must be postmarked on or before Monday, November 2. It will not be valid if it is postmarked on November 3 or later. If your letter carrier takes it from your home on October 31 or before, it's probable the postmark will meet the deadline requirements.
If you prefer or if you're close to the November 3 deadline, you can drop your ballot at the County Courthouse. For the June election, there was a secured box in the parking garage south of the tracks on 3rd Street. We expect that will be the case in November, as well. That box is only open until 4:00 pm on Monday, November 2. (There is a court case that involves this question. Watch this space.)
Best info is that one stamp is enough to mail your ballot in. We were asked to provide an explanation into "best info," so here goes:
The State purchases the envelopes and because of that, the envelopes will state “may require additional postage.” If the ballot was two or three pages, it could require extra postage. Because our ballots are one page, that warning does not apply to Grand Forks County. One stamp is sufficient. The County Auditor and the Grand Forks Postmaster both are on record as saying "one stamp."
Other States are saying the Ballot has to arrive by Tuesday to be valid
North Dakota law allows for your ballot to count IF it has a November 2 (or earlier) postmark AND it arrives to the Auditor’s office by November 8. The Canvassing Board meets on November 9 to verify and validate the results.
It’s better, if you can, to drop your ballot at the county office dropbox (in the 3rd St Parking garage) but your ballot will count if you hit the two dates above.
(a.k.a., Things to Not Do)
If you spoil your ballot, call the County Auditor to discuss a replacement ballot.
President Trump and Postmaster DeJoy have made cuts to the post office. There are widespread concerns these cuts will effect the ability of states to manage the vote-by-mail processes fairly.
You may recall Senator Cramer said, during the campaign in 2018, that Senator Heitkamp was wrong for aggressively defending the post office against the changes Mr Trump was asking for. Clearly, Mr Cramer is comfortable with undermining the post office. We don't know Mr Hoeven's thoughts about the harm this will do. His silence is deafening.
It is possible the changes to the post office nationally could have limited effect on this election for residents who live in Grand Forks city. On the other hand, there may be delays of a day or two each direction a ballot application or ballot is being delivered, so plan ahead. Residents can track the outbound and the receipt of their ballot through the Secretary of State website.
District 42 voters who are away from the district
Among the most promenent changes Postmaster DeJoy has implemented is changing elections-related mail from first class status (no employee leaves the post office until these envelopes have been moved) to third class (that stack over there - work on it when you can). If you find it is close to the election due date and you're mailing your ballot, paying for priority mail or using an alternative service (https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/8/14/1969164/-Another-Way-to-Vote-Remotely-Bypassing-the-Post-Office) may be prudent. At a minimum, if it's November 2, take your ballot to the post office or other carrier and have it postmarked for the 2nd.
Obviously, we'd rather have open and fair elections, but many of these protocols are being put in place to deter that goal. Being prepared to have your vote count may require special vigilance today.
last updated 09-08-2020