A federal judge has agreed to expand the proof of identity Native Americans can use for North Dakota elections, a decision reversing his temporary order that allowed voters without a state-approved ID to cast ballots by signing a legal document. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland’s ruling issued Tuesday adds other tribal documents to the state’s list of valid forms of ID. It also eliminates a requirement that those documents include residential street addresses, which sometimes aren’t assigned on American Indian reservations. “No eligible voter, regardless of their station in life, should be denied the opportunity to vote,” Hovland wrote in his 17-page ruling.
Several members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa in North Dakota challenged the state’s voter identification laws, saying they were a form of voter suppression.
Tom Dickson, a lawyer for tribal members, called the judge’s ruling a victory. He said it should clear a big hurdle for Native Americans at the polls. “Our main concern was not accepting any identification from Native Americans, and now that’s gone,” he said.
North Dakota filed a notice Wednesday that it would appeal the judge’s ruling, but the state’s chief election’s officer, Republican Al Jaeger, called the appeal “procedural.”