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Election day is today

Stark County Courthouse was filled Monday with early voters ahead of today's general election. Already, turnout numbers are exceeding those of the 2016 presidential election. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)

Election Day is today!

The Nov. 6 ballot features races for both North Dakota House of Representatives and Senate, Stark County Sheriff, and County Commissioners, as well as one local ballot initiative.

Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

There are four voting locations in Stark County on election day.

In Dickinson: National Guard Armory, 46 Museum Drive; Biesot Activity Center, DSU Football Stadium, 398 State Ave. N.; In Richardton: City Hall, 111 North Ave. W.; and in Belfield: City Hall, 208 Main St.

Leading up to the election, 3,100 absentee ballots had been sent out and more than 3,200 had participated in early voting at Stark County Courthouse by Monday afternoon.

The numbers exceed the 2016 president election, Kay Haag, Stark County auditor, said.

"It's probably the most voters we've had," Haag said. "I'm not really sure what's bringing them out. There's a lot of things on the ballot that could be bringing them out."

Two candidates in District 37 are running for ND Senate: incumbent Rich Wardner, a Republican, and challenger R. Travis Brazelton, a Democrat.

Wardner has 28 years of experience, eight years in the House and 20 in the Senate. This year, he drafted "Operation Prairie Dog" to adjust the distribution of oil production tax revenue to hub cities and the state.

Brazelton, an oil field industry worker, believes Wardner and Republicans have maintained a status-quo for too long, and feels new leadership, more in touch with the needs of people, is needed.

Four candidates in District 37 are running for ND House of Representatives: incumbents Mike Lefor and Vicky Steiner, both Republicans, and challengers Fern Pokorny and Keith Fernsler, both Democrats.

Lefor, DCI Credit Services Inc. president, was elected to the North Dakota House in 2014, and has served two sessions.

Steiner has also finished two terms. She recently served on the interim taxation committee and has served on various commissioners and task forces.

Pokorny, a first-time candidate, is an education advocate who works as a field consultant with North Dakota United, a merged organization for public employees and educators.

Fernsler, a retired Dickinson State University professor, is focused on improving education, health care and the community.

There are two candidates running for Stark County Sheriff: incumbent Terry Oestreich and Corey Lee, a sergeant with the Dickinson Police Department.

Oestreich has completed his first term as sheriff. His career in law enforcement spans 32 years, all with the Stark County Sheriff's Department.

Lee has served 13 years in the Dickinson Police Department.

Two candidates in Stark County District 4 are running for the County Board of Commissioners: incumbent Russ Hoff and challenger Carla Arthaud.

Hoff, a farmer and rancher, is a native of Taylor, has lived in Stark County his whole life, and has served 12 years on the commission.

Arthaud, a lifelong resident of southwest North Dakota, has worked for MBI Energy Services and formerly owned Bogey's Diner. She believes current commissioners and board members lack transparency and "approachability."

There is one local measure on the 2018 ballot.

A new half-cent sales tax dedicated to public safety would supplant, not supplement, money being drawn from Dickinson's general fund.

From the proceeds, 60 percent would go to replacing what is being drawn from the general fund for the two departments' budgets. The remaining 40 percent would go to public safety projects.

The new tax, if passed, is expected to generate about $1.3 million for the city in 2019 and $2.63 million in 2020.