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Pew study ranks N.D. first again in election performance

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BISMARCK – The results are in, and North Dakota has retained the nation’s top spot when it comes to how it runs elections, according to a study released Tuesday by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

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The Peace Garden State led the country for the second consecutive time in Pew’s Elections Performance Index, which looks at 17 indicators such as wait times at polling locations, voter turnout and accuracy of voting technology.

The study released Tuesday was based on the 2012 election. North Dakota also finished first in 2010 and second in 2008.

“It is a reflection of consistency in terms of election administration in North Dakota, and it's not just something that happens from this office,” Secretary of State Al Jaeger said, giving credit to county auditors, poll workers and his elections team.

Minnesota and Wisconsin filled out the second and third places on the index, respectively. Montana ranked 11th on the index and South Dakota ranked 29th among the 50 states and District of Columbia.

Because North Dakota has no voter registration, it’s excluded from several study categories, such as provisional ballots and registrations rejected.

Among the categories where North Dakota ranked in the top 10 among states, it finished sixth in disability- or illness-related voting problems; ninth in military and overseas ballots rejected and eighth in the percentage of those ballots returned; sixth in registration or absentee ballot problems; and sixth in the number of voter information lookup tools available.

The state ranked 15th in average voting wait time, at 7.5 minutes, which was up from 5.3 minutes in 2008.

Minnesota had the highest voter turnout, at 76.1 percent, followed by Wisconsin at 72.5 percent. North Dakota finished 21st in voter turnout, at 61.1 percent.

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