Frith, Wakefield, Volk among Tuesday Ramsey County victors

Jack Williams
Devils Lake Journal
A Ramsey County voter stands in line to vote on Nov. 3 at the Memorial Building.

Newcomer Blaine Volk defeated Mark E Olson to flip one of the Ramsey County Commissioner seats, receiving 22 percent of the vote, 2,813 votes. Volk's victory came by less than two percent to the incumbent Olson, who won 20.78 percent of the vote, 2,657 votes.  

Jeff Frith won the majority of the Ramsey County commissioner vote with 30.90 percent of the vote, 3,952 votes, going towards Frith's reelection. Lucas Wakefield also won reelection with 25.91 percent of the vote, 3,314 votes, to hold on to his seat. Outside of the four candidates running for three seats, 52 votes had been cast under write-in. 

On the ballot for supervisor of soil conservation in Ramsey County, Albert L Wood ran unopposed, winning 99.22 percent of the vote, 4,585 votes. 

County Measure 1 36 - Ramsey did not pass as 56.29 percent (2,741) of voters voted "no" on the measure. 

Focusing on state constitutional measures, both measures being voted upon, Constitutional measure No. 1 and No. 2 both were heavily voted no in Ramsey County. Measure No. 1 would've changed the size of the Board of Higher Education while measure No. 2 would've injected the Legislature into the process of initiating constitutional measures. 76 percent of Ramsey County voted "No" on measure No. 1 and 63 percent voted no on measure No. 2. 

In-state elections, all results are how Ramsey County has voted, justice Jon Jay Jensen and judges Michael Hurly, Anthony Swain Benson, Donovan Foughty, and Barbra L Whelan all ran unopposed and are leading their races as of Wednesday morning. For superintendent of public instruction, Kristen Baesler is currently leading Brandt J Dick by 995 votes and holds 59.63 percent of the overall vote. 

For public service commissioner, Republican Brain Kroshus leads Democrat Non-Partisan Casey D Buchmann with 66.67 percent of the vote to 33.14 percent, with Kroshus standing at 3,438 votes. Republican Thomas Beadle leads Democrat Non-Partisan Mark Haugen with 65.77 percent of the vote to 33.75 percent of the vote. Republican Joshua C Gallion leads Democrat Non-Partisan Patrick Hart with 67.80 percent of the vote to 32.15 percent of the vote. 

For governor, Republican ticket Doug Burgum and Brent Sanford currently lead their reelection bid with 70 percent of the vote, 3,753 votes, to Democrat Non-Partisan ticket Shelly Lenz and Ben Vig. For the House of Representatives seat in congress, republican Kelly Armstrong held 71 percent of the vote in the county to Democrat Non-Partisan Zach Raknerud, who has 25 percent of the vote. 

Lastly, for who Ramsey County voted for president, 66.58 percent (3,570 votes) voted for the Republican ticket Donald Trump and Mike Pence, while 30.51 percent (1,636 votes) voted for Democrat Non-Partisan Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. 2 percent of the vote went to Libertarian ticket Jo Jorgensen and Spike Cohen, and 0.52 percent submitted write-in ballots. 

5,420 ballots have been cast in Ramsey County, which is 61 percent of eligible voters in the county. As of Wednesday morning, the voter turnout in the county is up 3.8 percent from the 2016 election. Ramsey County auditor Kandy Christopherson said there was a steady flow of voters at the Memorial Building Tuesday, but the mail-in ballot turnout was overflowing.  

"The new technology has allowed lines to move a lot faster," Christopherson said. "Election Day turnout is a bit under than past years, but vote by mail exceeded over 4,000 ballots as of 5 p.m. Monday. It's very crazy. It didn't stop. Today [Tuesday], the wait hasn't been too long." 

Christopherson said that the ongoing pandemic has had an impact on the large turnout over mail and the steady flow on election day, however, those in charge have set up precautions to make sure those coming to vote are safe. North Dakota continues to remain one of the worst-hit states in the country by COVID-19. Ramsey County is currently a "high risk" county according to the North Dakota Department of Health. 

"People want to express their right to vote and everyone is being very cautious when coming to vote," Christopherson said. "Everyone is keeping their distance, wearing a mask and some people working today are just doing the cleaning. Everybody has an assignment to do and it seems to be running smooth."

When entering the building, voters are expected to have a mask on and sanitize their hands before entering the gym to vote. When walking into the gym, chairs for waiting are separated 6 feet apart, along with poll stations. With the Memorial Building being the only polling place in Ramsey County, spacing was important in having so many people in and out of the building.  

For the age demographic of the turnout, Christopherson said she saw a lot of younger people voting in Tuesday's elections. 

"I don't know if it's due to president or governor, but numbers are always higher when it's a presidential election versus off years," Christopherson said. "I'm glad to see more young people voting. It will affect their generation as well." 

Election results in Ramsey County and North Dakota will continue to be updated on the North Dakota Secretary of State website. 

Jack Williams covers Lake Region sports and general news for The Devils Lake Journal. Contact him via email at, on Twitter @jackgwilliams, or phone at 701-662-2127