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Primary voting turnout up in most counties

Voter turnout out for Tuesday's primary was up in most counties and many county auditors believe it was the ballot measures that drew the public to the polls in larger numbers.

Stark County had a total of 5,521 ballots cast in the primary. That is about 28 percent of the county's voting age population.

Statewide, the Secretary of State's office reported that there were 175,139 ballots cast out of a possible voting age population of 532,776.

That is the biggest voter turnout in at least 30 years, the Associated Press reported.

Billings County had 307 voters visit the polls in Tuesday's election.

There were also 38 absentee ballots cast, said Billings County Auditor Joan Jurgens.

The number of eligible voters in the county used to be around 500 people, but Jurgens said because of the influx of new people the oil boom has brought to the area, that figure may have changed.

"The primary elections tend to be a little lighter in voter turnout, but I thought voter turnout would be a little bit more this time than it was because I thought there seemed to be a lot of interest and debates on some of the measures," she said. "We didn't have any issues come up at the polls when people were voting on Tuesday though. Thank God."

In Slope County, Auditor Lorrie Buzalsky said 294 voters cast ballots in this year's primary, which almost doubled the 2010 primary voter turnout of 150.

There were also about 50 absentee ballots cast in Slope County.

"I can't be sure why the voter turnout increased this year, but I would guess that it had something to do with the measures that were on the ballot," Buzalsky said.

Overall, Bowman County Auditor Sandi Tivis said the election went smoothly with no issues.

Tivis said 1,258 of the county's eligible 2,741 voters cast ballots in the primary, an increase she attributed to Measure 2 and some of the Bowman city races.

In Dunn County, 1,059 voters out of the nearly 3,000 of the county's eligible voters participated in the primary, which went off without any problems, said Reinhard Hauck, county auditor and treasurer.

"That is about 200 more people than we would normally have vote in a primary," he said. "I would guess that the increase might have had something to do with Measure 2 being on the ballot this time."

Golden Valley County had 576 people vote in the election, about 200 more voters than two years ago, said Cecilia Stedman, county auditor.

"I would say the increase was definitely due to the ballot measures because we didn't really have any county contests and there was only one city contest on the ballot this time," she said.

Hettinger County Auditor Roy Steiner said 874 ballots were cast Tuesday, compared to 839 ballots cast in 2010.

"Everything was won by a fairly wide margin, so there won't be any recounts and the write-ins in the city races will have to be dealt with by the city," he said. "Overall, the turnout was nothing to get excited about. I had expected about 1,000 votes, especially because of the interest people had in some of the ballot measures, but it was such a nice day, I think people found other things to do."