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Extra ballots ordered throughout western ND for June 12

County officials in western North Dakota ordered more ballots for the June 12 elections, but there are mixed feelings if it will be the record year state officials think it will be.

"Although there are a lot of issues that are burning for a number of people, I'm not so sure they burn for everybody," Dunn County Auditor Reinhard Hauck said.

Stark County Auditor Kay Haag ordered 18,000 ballots compared to 12,000 in 2010. Bowman County increased its ballot counts by 30 percent, Auditor Sandi Tivis said. Adams County also increased its numbers to 2,500, Auditor Patricia Carroll said.

"It was really hard with the influx of people and the measures," Haag said.

County auditors ordered at least 83,000 more ballots than they did in the 2010 primary elections, Secretary of State Al Jaeger previously told Forum Communications.

Two North Dakota measures have become hot topics and may get more people to vote, Jaeger said Thursday -- Measure 2, which would eliminate property taxes, and Measure 4, which would allow University of North Dakota to drop the Fighting Sioux nickname. Even Measure 3, which states the government may not burden a person's or religious organization's religious liberty, has stirred up discussion.

"You really have different aspects to this election," he said. "Because we don't know, the counties are just being cautious, because about the worst thing you can do is run out of ballots on election day."

Primary elections usually have a turnout of about 20 percent, but the 1992 primary brought out a record 32 percent of North Dakota voters, Jaeger said.

This year could be another record year because of the diversity of measures, Jaeger said.

Stark County always orders more ballots in a presidential election year, but the increase of people from an oil boom in western North Dakota and controversial measures also played a part, Haag said.

Jaeger thought residents new to the area may not vote in the primary and must wait until the general election Nov. 6.

Hauck didn't increase the number of ballots he ordered from 2010, adding he wanted to make sure he could supply 80 percent of the voters, which would be 4,500 sheets.

"Primary elections are generally not a very large turnout, but that doesn't stop me from ordering enough," he said.

Hauck gauges turnouts by how many absentee ballots are turned in, he said.

"We should have at this point, if we were going to have any kind of a turnout, we should have at least 200 applications and ballots out," he said. "I think we have 20."

Dunn County throws away extra ballots, but Hauck doesn't want to run out of ballots.

Haag said it's hard to tell how many people will come out to vote.

"I've heard both sides. Yes, it's going to bring people out. No, it's not," she said.

County auditors hope people will head out to the voting booth.

"We got lots of ballots and we hate to throw them away," Hauck said.