More than 16,000 voter affidavits were filed in this year’s general election, according to a survey of North Dakota county auditors. Less than two months before the Nov. 8 election, a federal judge ordered North Dakota to provide the affidavit as an option to voters. The elimination of that option by a 2013 state law is part of a lawsuit brought against North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger by seven members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. Affidavits allow voters to cast a ballot even if they cannot provide a valid form of identification. The voter swears to being a qualified elector in a particular precinct, and falsely swearing to an affidavit is a Class A misdemeanor. Donnell Preskey Hushka, government and public relations specialist with the North Dakota Association of Counties, surveyed county auditors and found 16,395 affidavits were filed across the state this year.
“The auditors are now going through the process of verifications to verify that the address and person who said they lived at X address is the person they claimed to be on the affidavit,” she said via email.
The affidavits represent less than 5 percent of the 349,945 ballots that the Secretary of State’s Office said were cast. But it’s also more than the 10,519 affidavits filed in the 2012 election, according to Hushka.