North Dakota will offer an affidavit to voters who don’t bring an identification to the polls, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland’s order comes roughly a month and a half after he said the state couldn’t implement its voter ID laws without offering some kind of “fail-safe” mechanism. Seven members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa sued Secretary of State Al Jaeger in January, arguing the voter ID laws passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2013 and 2015 disproportionately burden Native Americans. The 2013 change eliminated the option to use an affidavit, which voters could use to swear they were a qualified elector in a particular precinct, as well as the ability for poll workers to vouch for a voter’s eligibility.
The order Hovland handed down Tuesday requires the state to offer an affidavit if a voter is not able to provide a valid form of ID. It also lists a current North Dakota driver’s license, a non-driver’s identification card, a tribal government-issued ID and a long-term care certificate as valid forms of ID, which reflects current law.
Hovland’s order came less than two months before the Nov. 8 election. Jim Silrum, the deputy secretary of state, said the order gives election workers some “clarity.”
The plaintiffs submitted a proposed order in late August that allowed for poll worker verification, affidavits and more forms of ID to be used at the polls. Still, Matthew Campbell, an attorney for the tribal members, said they were “pleased” the judge ordered the state to provide a “fail-safe” mechanism.