A federal judge won’t delay part of a ruling that found problems with how North Dakota’s voter identification laws affect Native Americans, despite the state saying it could lead to voter fraud. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland in his order Monday chided the state for raising a “litany of embellished concerns” about people taking advantage of his ruling last month that expand the proof of identity Native Americans can use for North Dakota elections. Hovland last month eliminated a requirement that documents used by Native American include residential street addresses. Those sometimes aren’t assigned on American Indian reservations. North Dakota officials called that part of the ruling unworkable, and claimed someone with only a post office box could still vote where they don’t live. “The reality is (the state) has failed to demonstrate any evidence of voter fraud in the past or present,” Hovland wrote in his order Monday, denying a delay.
Secretary of State Al Jaeger, North Dakota’s top election official, said Tuesday the state is appealing the case. The state also is opposing attorney fees totaling more than $1.1 million filed by the plaintiffs.
Republican Gov. Doug Burgum last year signed legislation that reworked the ID laws after tribal members sued the state in 2016. The lawsuit alleged the ID requirements violated the U.S. Voting Rights Act and discriminated against Native Americans.
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.