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22 posts go without candidates in Dunn, Stark, Adams counties

More than 110 positions need to be filled in Tuesday's election, and no one is running for 22 posts in Dunn, Stark and Adams counties.

Residents across southwestern North Dakota will have to write in their choices, and officials say it's not uncommon to have open races.

"This is the way they elect their people," Secretary of State Al Jaeger said of smaller communities. "There are cases where that is kind of the norm. That's how they get their officials -- through write-ins."

Bowman, Slope, Hettinger, Billings and Golden Valley counties have no local offices up for election on their ballots.

A write-in must be 18 years or older and can prove he or she has lived in the precinct for 30 days, Jaeger said. Officials must contact the winner to ask if they would like the job.

Characters, such as Mickey Mouse, are not counted, he added.

"Those happen all the time, but anything that is fictitious is just ignored," he said.

The vote is not definite, Jaeger said. A person can decline the offer. There are provisions in state law that allows vacancies to be filled. For example, school board members can appoint officials for an empty spot.

"We have so much time we can appoint somebody or we can hold another election," said Alice Berger, Belfield Public School business manager. "Of course, holding another election would be kind of goofy if you had nobody to run to start out with."

Two of the five BPS board positions are open, and no one is running.

People who care and are qualified are needed to fill the positions, Berger said, but she understands why residents hesitate.

"I think people are just so busy these days that they just feel overwhelmed if they take some more positions," she said.

The board has not had a year where no one filled the empty position, she added.