Tuesday, November 8, was an election day for the history books as millions of Americans casted their votes in the 2016 Presidential election at the national level.
By Melissa Anderson
Residents of Cavalier County and North Dakota were no exception as they entered their votes for both national offices and state in what can only be described as one of the most bizarre and historic national election seasons in recent memory.
North Dakota residents were on pace the Monday before election day to break a record for early voting for the third straight presidential election.
Almost 122,000 eligible voters already had voted by Monday morning and before Election Day polling locations were to open Tuesday.
About 130,000 people voted early in the 2012 general election, breaking the record set in 2008 by about 10,000 votes.
North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger said that there were still about 13,000 absentee and mail-in ballots that had not been returned. And some early voting precincts, including one in Bismarck, were open until the Monday night before election day.
Historically, presidential elections draw far more voters than midterm elections. This year was no different. The 2016 primary election held in June saw 139,957 of the eligible 570,955 North Dakotans cast ballots. The general election held on Tuesday, November 8, saw 348,981 ballots cast, giving North Dakota a 61.1 percent voter turnout. In Cavalier County, a total of 2,094 ballots were cast.
The ballot this year in North Dakota included candidates for president as well as for governor, several statewide offices and five ballot measures.
As a result of your votes, the following is a summary of the newly elected officials who have either reclaimed their elected positions or are newcomers eagerly anticipating their first term in office.
It was a close race for the presidency with the race not being called until well into the night. A winner was announced with 276 electoral votes, as Republican candidate Donald Trump will become the nation’s 45th president. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton made history as she became the first woman to receive a major political party nomination and receive electoral votes.
President-elect Trump registered 216,133 votes in North Dakota while Clinton received only 93,526.
1,192 citizens of Cavalier County voted for Trump, while only 818 were in support of Clinton becoming the 45th President of the United States.
United States Senator:
Incumbent Senator John Hoeven (R) received 78.47 percent of the votes to edge out Eliot Glassheim (D) who had received 16.98 percent of the votes. Robert Marquette (Lib) received 3.08 percent and James Germalic (Ind) secured only 1.36 percent of the vote.
Incumbent U.S. Representative Kevin Cramer (R) received 69.12 percent of the votes over Chase Iron Eyes (D) who picked up only 23.76 percent of the votes and was followed by Jack Seaman(Lib) who walked away with 6.95 percent of the remaining votes.
Governor and Lt. Governor:
Doug Burgum and Brent Sanford (R) were the heavily favored candidates going into election day and won with 76.51 percent of the votes. Marvin Nelson and Joan Heckaman (D) followed with 19.40 percent of the votes. Marty Riske and Joshua Voytek (Lib) tallied in 3.90 percent of the votes.
Josh Gallion (R) received 76.62 percent of the votes over Roland Reimers (Lib) who landed only 22.92 percent of the votes.
Kelly Schmidt (R) received 62.94 percent of the votes to be re-elected to State Treasurer to Tim Mathern (D) 29.28 percent and Eric Olson (Lib)7.63 percent of votes.
Jon Godfread (R) received 64.40 percent of the votes to surpass Ruth Buffalo (D) who finished with 26.80 percent of the votes and Nick Bata (Lib) with 8.64 percent of the votes.
Public Service Commissioner:
Julie Fedorchak (R) received 68.74 percent votes to stay ahead of Marlo Hunte-Beaubran (D) 22.63 percent of votes and Thomas Skadeland (Lib) who finished with 8.45 percent of votes.
Superintendent of Public Instruction:
Kirsten Baesler (incumbent) was re-elected to her post with 74.59 percent of the vote beating Joe Chaing, who received only 24.87 percent of voter support.
For District 10, the State Senate race saw Janne Myrdal (R) edge out Quentin Wenzel (D). Myrdal received 63.87 percent of District 10 while Wenzel only gained 35.44 percent. In Cavalier County, the race was extremely close, only four votes separated the two candidates. Myrdal received 1,022 votes and Wenzel 1,018.
Incumbent State Representatives for District 10, Charles Damschen and David Monson, both Republican, were re-elected to their seats receiving 34.39 and 34.17 percent of votes respectively. Democratic candidates Elsie Magnus and Daryl Passa received 18.5 and 12.82 percent of votes in District 10.
The Cavalier County Commission will be welcoming David Zeis to his first term as he received 48.37 percent of votes. Richard Ring won a consecutive term as he was re-elected to the commission receiving 36.54 percent. Shauna Schneider garnered 14.67 percent of votes.
North Dakota was one of several states with marijuana on the ballot — for the state it was whether residents should have legal access to medical marijuana. Measure 5 would let residents buy up to 3 ounces through a state-regulated system of dispensaries if a doctor prescribes it for pain relief.
Voters were also being asked whether they should raise the state’s cigarette tax for the first time in nearly a quarter-century to $2.20 a pack from the current 44 cents. That’s a 400 percent increase to what is now the third-lowest tax in the nation. The money raised would be split between public health programs and a newly created trust fund for veterans.
North Dakota is also one of a handful of states considering whether crime victims’ rights should be guaranteed in law. The so-called Marsy’s Law would establish constitutional rights for crime victims such as being notified about the release of an attacker.
A fourth measure would require legislators to live in the district they represent. A fifth would let voters decide if lawmakers could tap the state’s “foundation aid stabilization fund” for education-related purposes. The results for the five measures appearing on the 2016 general election ballot are as follows:
• Constitutional Measure No. 1 relating to legislator residency requirements: 86.1 percent in favor and 13.90 percent opposed. The measure passed.
Cavalier County voters were in favor of the measure with 82.07 percent votes for the measure.
• Constitutional Measure No. 2 relating to oil extraction tax distribution: 64.29 percent in favor and 35.71 percent opposed. The measure passed.
Cavalier County voters were in favor of the measure with 55.11 percent votes for the measure.
• Initiated Constitutional Measure No. 3 relating to crime victim rights: 62.02 percent in favor and 37.98 percent opposed. The measure passed.
Cavalier County voters were opposed to the measure with 54.21 percent votes against it.
• Initiated Statutory Measure No. 4 relating to tobacco tax increase: 38.33 percent in favor and 61.67 percent opposed. The measure failed.
Cavalier County voters were opposed to the measure with 66.23 percent votes against it.
• Initiated Statutory Measure No. 5 relating to medical marijuana: 63.80 percent in favor and 36.20 percent opposed. The measure passed.
Cavalier County voters were in favor of the measure with 50.10 percent votes for the measure.