Wednesday, December 1, 2021


As the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a high-stakes abortion case, it coincides with divisive arguments over voter fraud, mask mandates and more, and at least three are dead in a Michigan school shooting.


Republican lawmakers say government won't shut down; Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell says inflation will last well into next year; and an FDA panel greenlights first pill to treat COVID-19.


South Dakota foster kids find homes with Native families; a conservative group wants oil and gas reform; rural Pennsylvania residents object to planes flying above tree tops; and poetry debuts to celebrate the land.

Ahead of 2022, ND Auditors Ponder Poll Workers, Mail-In Voting


Tuesday, September 14, 2021   

CROSBY, N.D. -- North Dakota's county auditors are busy this fall preparing property tax bills, but they also have elections in the back of their minds, and some wonder if the challenges they faced in 2020 will resurface next spring.

The 2020 vote saw North Dakota shift to all mail-in voting for last year's primary due to the pandemic. Offices also reported a harder time recruiting poll workers because of health risks tied to COVID.

Gayle Jastrzebski, auditor and treasurer of Divide County, said amid another COVID wave, it is unclear how much the crisis will impact voting for next June's primary. She noted even though there was a slight return to normal last November, a lot of ballots were still mailed in.

"Even in the fall, when we had the one precinct open, three-fourths of our voters voted by mail-in, still," Jastrzebski pointed out.

She now wonders about preparing again for strong demand for absentee ballots. In last year's primary, the Secretary of State waived a requirement for counties to keep at least one polling location open, with all 53 adopting the mail-in approach. The office said it does not anticipate a similar move next spring.

Meanwhile, Jastrzebski acknowledged older poll workers might opt to sit out the June primary if case levels remain high.

Debbie Nelson, auditor of Grand Forks County, said getting enough people to work at polling locations remains a concern, especially if the pandemic stretches well into 2022. She emphasized it is not just hard on administrators. It could also discourage some people from casting their ballot if staffs are overwhelmed.

"(If) people have to wait in line too long, they will not vote," Nelson observed. "So, we want to make sure we do not have long lines. "

Past research from the Brennan Center for Justice has found that long lines can have an impact on voter turnout.

Nelson stressed fortunately for her, she was able to address poll-worker shortages in 2020 through a national website, which helps with recruitment in each state. She hopes it can be effective next year as well.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.

get more stories like this via email
Cases of chronic wasting disease among Wisconsin's deer population increased to a 20-year high of nearly 1,600 animals in 2020. (Adobe Stock)


MADISON, Wis. - The Department of Natural Resources wants Wisconsinites to weigh in on its efforts to address chronic wasting disease. The always-…

Social Issues

RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina communities will soon receive funding to preserve green spaces, maintain parks and boost resiliency against the …

Social Issues

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Wyoming shoppers choosing to buy gifts at local mom-and-pop stores this holiday season can sample cookies with Mrs. Claus and refuel …

At the start of 2020, nearly 25,000 Ohioans had been diagnosed with HIV, according to state data. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Today marks World AIDS Day, observed internationally to remember those lost to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and raise awareness about the …

Social Issues

SALEM, Ore. -- A new project with a grant from the federal government aims to invite Hispanic students in Oregon into agriculture and technology …

More than one in four people in a recent survey said when payments resume in February, they'll be paying at least one-third of their income toward student loans. (Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

GREAT FALLS, Mont. - Student-loan borrowers have had a reprieve from making payments during the pandemic, but that's set to end in 2022. Starting in …


HEMET, Calif. -- Public-lands groups are asking Congress to support the proposed Western Riverside County Wildlife Refuge, a 500,000-acre swath …

Social Issues

PRINCETON, Minn. -- President Joe Biden is expected to visit Minnesota today to tout passage of the new federal infrastructure bill. Those working …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021