North Dakota’s chief elections official hopes to have new equipment at the polls for the 2020 contests after state lawmakers approved $12 million for the devices. Secretary of State Al Jaeger said Wednesday the money will be used to purchase new ballot scanners and electronic poll books, which serve as voter records at individual precincts, across the state. The $12 million approved by lawmakers includes $3 million of federal funding. Jaeger, a Republican, said North Dakotans will still mark a paper ballot but new equipment will be used to count their votes. County election officials have warned about equipment failures for several years, but the 2017 Legislature rejected funding while the state tightened its belt.Full Article: North Dakota Legislature funds new election equipment | North Dakota News | bismarcktribune.com.
Articles about voting issues in North Dakota.
The Republican-led Senate has killed a Democrat measure for an appointed non-partisan commission to draw a new map for North Dakota’s legislative districts. The Senate defeated the bill 36-10, along party lines on Monday. The measure was sponsored by Democratic legislative leaders. North Dakota now has 47 legislative districts, each of which is represented by a senator and two House members.
The North Dakota House rejected a bill backed by Democratic lawmakers on Thursday, Jan. 31, that sought to allow the state’s college students to use university-issued identification to vote. House Bill 1479 would have required colleges and universities to provide students with an identification card that could be scanned by a polling clerk to access their address in the state’s central voter file. It failed in a 78-13 vote that almost entirely fell along party lines. Rep. Matt Eidson, D-Grand Forks, was the bill’s primary sponsor.
Minot Republican Rep. Scott Louser noted the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a challenge to North Dakota’s voter ID law last year. The state’s laws have been the subject of lawsuits that argue they disproportionately burden Native Americans.
State law requires a North Dakota driver’s license, a nondriver’s ID card, a tribal ID or a long-term care certificate to vote at the polls. It allows voters to use supplemental documentation, such as a utility bill or bank statement, to prove their eligibility.
North Dakota has asked a federal judge to dismiss a Native American tribe’s lawsuit challenging the state’s voter identification requirements, saying in part that tribal members named in the complaint weren’t impeded from voting on Election Day. The attorney general’s office in a Monday filing also argued that the state is immune from such lawsuits in U.S. District Court and that the Spirit Lake Sioux tribe doesn’t have standing to sue for several reasons, including that it’s unclear how the tribe might be affected by the inability of any members to vote. Even if that were clear, attorneys said, the tribe “is not representing the interests of all of its members, merely a select few.”Full Article: North Dakota asks judge to dismiss tribe's voter ID lawsuit | National | dailyjournalonline.com.
North Dakota: Few voters verify ID under North Dakota’s new ‘set aside’ ballot system | Grand Forks Herald
Less than a fifth of North Dakotans who marked a “set aside” ballot during last week’s midterm election followed up with a valid identification and had their vote counted, a state election official said Friday, Nov. 16. Under state law, voters who don’t have sufficient identification on Election Day may mark a ballot that’s separated from the rest. If a voter returns with an adequate ID within six days, the ballot would be included in the tally. The new procedure was introduced in the latest iteration of North Dakota’s voter ID law, which passed the Republican-controlled Legislature and was signed by Gov. Doug Burgum in 2017. Across the state, 1,110 voters marked a set aside ballot, Deputy Secretary of State Jim Silrum said. Only 141 of them, or 13 percent, returned to verify their ID, but several counties had not yet reported their figures to state officials by 8 a.m. Friday. At most, 219 people returned to verify their ID.Full Article: Few voters verify ID under North Dakota's new 'set aside' ballot system | Grand Forks Herald.
North Dakota: Federal judge rejects lawsuit, lets North Dakota disenfranchise Native American voters | Salon
federal judge has rejected a North Dakota tribe’s emergency motion to stop a voter ID law that it argued disproportionately affects Native Americans in Tuesday’s midterm elections. “The federal courts are unanimous in their judgment that it is highly important to preserve the status quo when elections are fast approaching,” U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland wrote in his order. The judge said the lawsuit by the Spirit Lake Tribe gives “great cause for concern” and will need a “a detailed response from the Secretary of State as this case proceeds,” but decided that “a further injunction on the eve of the election will create as much confusion as it will alleviate, and is foreclosed by precedent which is hesitant to permit ‘eleventh-hour changes to election laws.’” The Spirit Lake Tribe sued to block the state from enforcing a voter ID law that they argued would disenfranchise hundreds if not thousands of Native Americans ahead of next week’s elections. The law requires all voters to present an ID with their street address, but many Native Americans who live on reservations do not have traditional street addresses and rely on post office box addresses.Full Article: Federal judge rejects lawsuit, lets North Dakota disenfranchise Native American voters | Salon.com.
To find Honorata Defender’s home on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, mention her name to whoever you can find walking down the main street of her tiny town. They’ll tell you to turn when you get to the powwow grounds and to take the paved road, rather than the gravel one. Drive until you see a hill, and look for her car. Her house has no number on it, and mail is not delivered there; it goes to a P.O. box instead. As Defender put it, “We’ve never believed that a person can own land; it’s the land that owns us.” She added, “The concept of an address wasn’t a big deal.” Defender was working at her job as a reporter for the Corson/Sioux County News-Messenger — the local paper that covers Standing Rock, including one of the key North Dakota counties that voted Democrat in 2012’s Senate election — when she learned that the U.S. Supreme Court had upheld North Dakota’s voter ID law. The law will require each voter to present identification that displays a residential address, a major barrier for tribal members, since thousands of Native voters don’t use a home address. Defender’s home is on the South Dakota side of Standing Rock, but it is typical of the communities throughout the reservation.Full Article: Native Americans Fight for the Right to Vote in North Dakota.
Nobody in the squat yellow house serving as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s get-out-the-vote headquarters knew its address. It was on Red Tail Hawk Avenue; they knew that much. But the number was anyone’s guess. Phyllis Young, a longtime tribal activist leading the voter-outreach effort, said it had fallen off the side of the house at some point. Her own home has a number only because she added one with permanent marker. This is normal on Native American reservations. Buildings lack numbers; streets lack signs. Even when a house has an address in official records, residents don’t necessarily know what it is. “We know our communities based off our communities,” said Danielle Ta’Sheena Finn, a Standing Rock spokeswoman and tribal judge. “We know, ‘Hey, that’s so-and-so’s house; you go two houses down and that’s the correct place you need to be.’”Full Article: In North Dakota, Native Americans Try to Turn an ID Law to Their Advantage - The New York Times.
Native American residents of North Dakota have been left scrambling to meet a controversial voter ID requirement that could render many ineligible to vote in the upcoming November mid-term elections. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court declined to overturn the GOP-backed voter law, which requires North Dakotans to show identification with their current street address. As many Native American reservations do not use physical street addresses, the law makes it difficult for thousands of people to cast their ballots. While Native American residents do often use PO boxes as mailing addresses, PO boxes do not qualify as proof of residency under the voter ID law. As a result, many voters will have to make the effort to obtain identification or documents, such as a tribal voting letter issued by tribal officials, that provide proof of a residential address.Full Article: GOP-backed ID Law Could Stop Native Americans From Voting in Key Senate Race.
Locating a house isn’t easy on the isolated and impoverished Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in northern North Dakota, and that’s making it more difficult for residents and their counterparts on other reservations in the state to vote this election. To cast a ballot, they need identification with a provable street address — something that isn’t important to the 19,000 people who live on the remote 72-square-mile block of land where most streets have no signs. In their culture, they’ve never needed them. Tribal activist Wes Davis, 37, an official at the local community college and a lifelong reservation resident, describes where he lives this way — to the west of a gas station on the east side of town, behind the high school and across the road from another store.Full Article: Tribes scramble to meet voter ID requirements in North Dakota - CBS News.
The Supreme Court declined this month to overturn a North Dakota law that requires voters to present an ID listing their residential address at the polls. The decision could have a negative impact on tens of thousands of rural voters — many of them Native Americans who live on one of the states five reservations, where residents are not required to have a street address. Native Americans have long faced unique challenges relating to voter suppression. They were the last to gain suffrage in 1924 and couldn’t vote in states like Arizona, New Mexico and Utah until 1948.Full Article: North Dakota Voter ID Law Could Keep Rural Native Americans From Voting | Here & Now.
North Dakota is home to one of the most important Senate races of 2018, and less than three weeks before Election Day, it’s embroiled in a fierce battle over who will be able to participate. nOn Oct. 9, the Supreme Court allowed a new state voter identification requirement to take effect, meaning North Dakotans will be voting under different rules than in the primaries just a few months ago. The change disproportionately affects Native Americans, and tribal leaders and advocacy groups have spent the past week and a half scrambling. In a recent letter to the North Dakota secretary of state, one group called the state’s current process unworkable and proposed a solution, but the secretary of state would not endorse it. It is an extraordinary situation: the electoral process thrown into chaos at the last minute in a state that will help decide which party controls the Senate. Here’s a look at where things stand.Full Article: A Look at Where North Dakota’s Voter ID Controversy Stands - The New York Times.
Civil rights groups are expressing outrage over a recent Supreme Court ruling that could make it harder for Native Americans in North Dakota to cast their votes in the upcoming midterm elections. Last week, the Supreme Court ruled against overturning North Dakota’s controversial voter ID law which requires voters to present identification that verifies a current residential street address. Proponents of the law say it will help prevent voter fraud. Opponents say it will prevent many Native Americans from voting. “Addressing on reservations and in rural Native American communities is spotty,” Jacqueline D. De Leon, a member of the Isleta Pueblo in New Mexico and an attorney for the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), told VOA in August.Full Article: Native Americans Decry Supreme Court Ruling on Voter ID in North Dakota.
Men in state government and on the U.S. Supreme Court crippled Native suffrage recently, but women are leading the fight to bring Native votes in record numbers to the polls. Some women are offering rides on Election Day to Natives lacking transportation. Others are filming videos on social media trying to explain what Native people need to prepare for ahead of time. Secretary of State promises to handle address switches from a post office box to a physical address are failing as multiple sources have reported waiting for three weeks to hear back from a county 911 coordinator. On October 9 the U.S. Supreme court voted 6 – 2 to disallow post office boxes as valid addresses to use while voting in North Dakota. All identification papers must have a physical address, which means many Native IDs are useless.Full Article: State strips then delays Native voting rights | High Plains Reader, Fargo ND.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to toss out an appeals court order that allows North Dakota to enforce its voter ID requirement during the 2018 elections. The request to toss out the order came from a group of Native American residents who are challenging a new state law that requires voters to present identification that includes a current residential street address. The challengers argued the new rule disenfranchises a disproportionate share of the population because many Native American voters live on reservations without standard addresses.Full Article: Supreme Court allows North Dakota to enforce voter ID laws | TheHill.
North Dakota is going ahead with requiring residents to provide a street address in order to vote on Election Day, even though some American Indian tribes have argued in federal court that they sometimes aren’t assigned on reservations. Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s office notified the state’s five tribes by email late Friday of North Dakota voter ID requirements. The email said obtaining a residential street address is a quick and no-cost process that can be done by notifying 911 coordinators in any of North Dakota’s 53 counties. A file containing a downloadable poster was attached to the email. “The effort is to educate people who vote and how to comply with the law,” Deputy Secretary of State Jim Silrum said Monday.Full Article: North Dakota Officials Tell Tribes of Election Requirements.
Attorneys representing a group of Native Americans challenging North Dakota’s voter identification laws filed an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday, Sept. 27. This week, a federal appeals court halted part of a lower court ruling that said the state must accept IDs and supplemental documentation with a current mailing address. The appellate court said that could lead to voters casting a ballot in the wrong precinct if they use a post office box as a mailing address. The Native American Rights Fund, which represents the tribal members, said in a news release the ruling means “several thousand” qualified North Dakota voters “will be unable to vote in this year’s election simply because they do not have a residential address or because they lack the documentation and/or funds to obtain the required voter identification.”Full Article: Plaintiffs in ND Native American voter ID case seek Supreme Court appeal | INFORUM.
North Dakota: Appeals court ruling a setback for Native Americans challenging voter ID law | Grand Forks Herald
A federal appeals court halted part of a lower court’s ruling in the long-running battle over North Dakota’s voter identification laws Monday, Sept. 24, citing the potential for fraud in the state’s elections. In a split decision representing a setback for Native Americans challenging the law, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit suspended a federal judge’s April ruling mandating that the state accept IDs and supplemental documentation with a current mailing address. The suspension, known as a stay, will be in effect while the court case moves forward. The appeals court noted North Dakota is the only state without voter registration and has a “legitimate interest in requiring identification and a showing of current residence to prevent voter fraud and to safeguard voter confidence.” It said the state would be “irreparably harmed” without a stay as requested by Secretary of State Al Jaeger, a Republican.Full Article: Appeals court ruling a setback for Native Americans challenging voter ID law | Grand Forks Herald.
North Dakota is asking a federal appeals court to overturn a ruling that found problems with how the state’s voter identification laws affect Native Americans. The state is arguing the case Monday in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland in April agreed to expand the proof of identity Native Americans can use for North Dakota elections. The judge also ordered eliminating a requirement that those documents include residential street addresses, which sometimes aren’t assigned on American Indian reservations.
John Erickson breezed into downtown Bismarck’s government building, flashed his ID and picked up a primary ballot. A few minutes later, the early voting ballot complete, Erickson traded pleasantries with friends and familiar poll workers and headed back to tend the cows and crops on his farm north of the state’s capital city. Erickson, 86, the proud non-owner of a neither a television nor computer, relishes the fact that he has never had to register to vote in his native state. “I like life simple,” he said. In an era when hacking has raised concerns about the security of America’s elections and President Donald Trump rages about voter fraud, North Dakota stands out as the only state that doesn’t require voter registration. Residents and most state and local election officials say the low-tech system in use for Tuesday’s primary, as it has been for generations, works just fine.Full Article: No voter registration point of pride, unease in North Dakota - StarTribune.com.