In yet another sign of North Dakota’s hotly contested U.S. Senate race, the Secretary of State’s Office is fielding questions from party officials about the process for having poll challengers and poll checkers at voting sites. The questions prompted Secretary of State Al Jaeger to email county auditors last week, informing them of balloting rules and that they’ll receive several messages before Election Day to address the inquiries “so that all of us are on the same page.” “Naturally, many questions are being prompted by the predicted closeness of the U.S. Senate race,” Jaeger wrote. “Without doubt, the eyes of the nation will be on North Dakota. Regardless, I know all of us will rise to the occasion and will have another well run election.”
State law has long allowed checkers and challengers at polling places, Jaeger said. “Probably what’s a little bit different this time is that the contact has been made to our office by the various political parties,” he said.
Democratic-NPL Party Chairman Greg Hodur sent a letter to Jaeger earlier this month requesting information so volunteers serving as election judges and poll challengers and checkers “clearly understand the established process.”
Poll challengers are appointed by their district’s party chairman, and up to three are allowed at each polling place. If they feel someone isn’t a qualified voter, they can notify the election board, which then decides whether to challenge the voter’s qualifications. The board consists of the election inspector, at least two clerks and two election judges, one from each party.