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Media split on Election Day ads ruling

FARGO -- After a federal judge effectively struck down North Dakota's ban on Election Day campaigning, the door is open for political advertisements to continue down to last moments of the campaign.

But local media outlets vary in how they plan to handle the ruling, which bars authorities from prosecuting under the state law -- which may be altered when the Legislature meets next year.

Carol Anhorn, general sales manager at WDAY, said she's gotten requests to run political ads on Election Day since the Wednesday ruling. But she said the station won't do so until the Legislature repeals the law.

"We are going to follow the law until it is officially changed," she said. "We have told them that we are going to decline."

Jim Wareham, president and general manager of Valley News Live, said the station will accept Election Day ads, but hasn't fielded many requests to do so.

"There hasn't been any outpouring of that," he said.

He said the court decision, coupled with North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem's announcement that he will not appeal the decision and instead will ask legislators to repeal the law, make it apparent that the law is on its way out.

"I think it's pretty clear," Wareham said.

Joel Heitkamp, operations manager of KFGO 790 AM, said the radio station will accept Election Day ads. He said the station started getting requests as soon as the court decision was announced.

"We're going to take it," he said. "Somebody's going to take it. They're going to find it somewhere."

Representatives of KVRR could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The Forum, which is owned by the same parent company as WDAY, has decided not to publish political ads on Election Day.