A combination of high voter turnout and redistricting changes contributed to often long lines at Minot’s four polling places Tuesday. Devra Smestad, Ward County auditor, said there was a learning curve that resulted in longer lines earlier in the day, particularly at the Maysa Arena voting site. Movement through the system went faster with the addition of more scanners and changes in the way election workers handled the flow, such as giving voting directions to groups of voters rather than each voter individually. “We are seeing where we need to improve and we see where things are going very well. We appreciate the people’s patience and we understand their frustration,” Smestad said.
Reports of voters standing in line an hour or more to get a ballot were common early on. By the end of the day, lines at polling places remained long but voters were getting in and out in 45 minutes or often less if they were able to quickly mark their ballots.
Part of the problem occurred because of splitting city wards into different legislative districts when the city redistricted after the census, Smestad said. Voters needed to use specific scanning machines because each was programmed for the different ballot types. That proved confusing for the voters.