FARGO — Cass County’s new finance director has been spending most of her time supervising the upcoming election in her first few months on the job.

Brandy Madrigga changed longtime director and former elected county auditor Mike Montplaisir who retired in early August. The Canada native, who beforehand labored as a controller for the Metropolis of Winnipeg, started her new job in October.

With the 2022 election season approaching, Madrigga stated she has been focusing totally on a first-ever joint powers settlement with cities, cities, park districts, faculty districts and townships within the county in addition to different election points.

She stated the settlement actually did not change a lot in election operations, nevertheless it formalized and put in writing how elections are run and financed.

Probably the most noticeable change for the upcoming statewide main, state and metropolis elections in June shall be new voting facilities.

There’s been no last resolution on what number of facilities to function, Madrigga stated, however there was a price range for 10 such facilities that can permit for early voting. Voters will have the ability to solid ballots on the heart of their selection and comfort. Among the facilities might not open till November for the final election when turnout is far increased.

Beforehand, Cass County residents needed to vote in precincts which meant casting their ballots in principally varied neighborhood faculties and church buildings throughout the town.

Nonetheless, new voting machines referred to as ExpressVotes had been bought with approval of the state legislature and rolled out to be used throughout the state within the fall 2020 election.

The brand new machines permit folks to vote at any voting heart within the county, and voters are offered the precise poll by utilizing their deal with so that they vote of their appropriate district.

County election specialist DeAnn Buckhouse, who works with Madrigga, stated folks actually preferred the machines, which additionally print out a paper copy for voters to evaluation and for the county to maintain in circumstances of recounts or disputes.

Buckhouse stated the state and county did not have a lot selection in altering to the brand new machines and tabulators as expertise is advancing and the older machines had been outdated.

The brand new joint settlement additionally outlines who pays for elections, Madrigga stated. The county pays for the state main, basic election and absentee ballots.

Nonetheless, cities, cities and faculties should pay for particular elections.

On the Monday, Jan. 10, Fargo Metropolis Fee assembly, it was famous {that a} transfer authorized by the commissioners final June to mail out absentee voting purposes to an estimated 57,000 eligible voters for the town election in June shall be financed by the town at a value of $29,600.

That pays for printing of a canopy letter, poll purposes, envelopes and postage.

Assistant Metropolis Administrator Mike Redlinger stated the objective is to enhance turnout within the metropolis elections. Participation jumped from 11% to 21% within the 2020 metropolis vote due to the mail-in choice.

Madrigga stated the brand new settlement spells out that the county pays, as they’ve prior to now, for processing the absentee ballots, which requires signature verification and different steps.

Apart from elections, Madrigga can also be accountable for managing the county funds, getting ready the annual county price range and dealing with property taxes.

She stated a brand new accounting software program system is at the moment being utilized for county operations and can also be taking on a few of her time. The brand new system will streamline monetary capabilities and in addition enhance the budgeting system and make it simpler for county commissioners and residents to observe.

With a brand new county info expertise director just lately employed, too, Madrigga stated it’s a good time to make the change as they will be within the new system from the underside up.

Madrigga stated her journey to Fargo is exclusive as she is on short-term standing for 3 years below the North American Free Commerce Settlement that allowed professionals in sure occupations to work within the U.S.

She will be able to reapply in three years but in addition plans to work towards her citizenship right here earlier than that point is up.

Her husband continues to be working and commuting to his job with the Winnipeg Fireplace Division. The couple has three women who’re attending faculties right here.

The finance director place was once an elected county auditor place earlier than the workplace was modified to be appointed and was mixed with the previously elected county recorder and treasurer positions. The place pays an annual wage of $111,578.