North Dakota state officials are unable to provide requested voter information to a controversial committee studying alleged voter fraud, Secretary of State Al Jaeger told the commission this week. In a letter to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity dated Tuesday, Sept. 5, Jaeger said North Dakota doesn’t register voters and state law doesn’t allow information maintained in its Central Voter File to be shared “except with certain individuals and groups and for a specific limited purpose.” He said information in the CVF is only available to candidates, political parties and political committees and may only be used for election-related purposes. “The commission does not qualify as an eligible recipient,” Jaeger, a Republican, wrote.
North Dakota: Jaeger asking for new voting machines, electronic poll books | Prairie Public Broadcasting
North Dakota’s Secretary of State says it’s time to replace the state’s voting machines. Al Jaeger has asked the 2017 Legislature Jaeger has asked for a $9 million appropriation for that. He says the current machines were first used in 2004. “Even at that time, though the equipment came in fancy new boxes, the technology was already aged,” Jaeger said. “We’re now at a point where the voting system is not being supported any more.” Jaeger said counties have had to cannibalize some of their devices for parts, to keep some machines running. “We haven’t had any malfunctions,” Jaeger said. “But we know in another election, it would be very difficult to be able to run it.”
North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger said last week it’s too early to say what forms of identification will be accepted for voting in November’s election, but a plan is being developed after a federal judge recently ruled against the state’s new voter ID laws. On Aug. 1, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland issued a preliminary injunction requested by seven members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa who sued Jaeger in January, arguing the voter ID laws passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2013 and 2015 were unconstitutional and disenfranchised tribal members. Jaeger, a Republican, said “the process of reverting back to the pre-2013 law is not as easy as the judge may have made it sound in his ruling.” He said he wasn’t able to say yet which IDs will be accepted at the polls come November. However, the state will comply with Hovland’s order, Jaeger said.
North Dakota on Monday became the latest state to have its voter identification law blocked by a federal court, adding to a string of recent rulings across the US on the grounds that such measures disenfranchise poor and minority voters. North Dakota joined North Carolina and Wisconsin, where voter-ID restrictions were struck down by federal courts on Friday, victories for advocates who claim the measures are an attempt to suppress voters who tend to cast ballots for Democrats. Seven Native American voters filed a federal law suit against North Dakota claiming measures passed by the Republican-led legislature in 2013 and 2015 are unconstitutional and violate the US Voting Rights Act. The laws added restrictions to the types of identification voters can use at polling places and banned “fail-safe” provisions allowing them to vote without the required identification in certain circumstances.
The North Dakota Secretary of State’s office filed a motion on Wednesday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by seven members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa over what they call illegal state voter identification laws. In the lawsuit filed Jan. 21 in US. District Court for the State of North Dakota against Secretary of State Al Jaeger, tribal members allege that the state’s voter ID laws are unconstitutional as they force a disproportionate burden against Native Americans. Some tribal members can’t afford an ID and those who have paid for one are essentially having to pay to vote, according to the lawsuit.
North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger was served with a lawsuit Thursday by seven members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa who claim that recent changes to the state’s voter identification laws infringe on their right to vote. The lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Bismarck asks the court to find that…
Secretary of State Al Jaeger says North Dakota needs new voting machines. Jaeger says the state is using voting technology developed when Congress passed the “Help America Vote Act” in 2001. And he says federal money was available to the states to implement that act. But Jaeger says that federal money won’t be available this time around.
North Dakota lawmakers are proposing changes to the state’s voter identification law after some had problems casting a ballot in November. The proposals come after the Legislature changed North Dakota’s voter identification law two years ago to do away with the voter affidavit process that allowed voters to cast a ballot without proper ID. A bill introduced last week by state Rep. Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, would reverse that change and bring back affidavits. “Let’s go back to the 2013 law and start from there,” Mock said. But state Rep. Randy Boehning, R-Fargo, said voter affidavits leave the state’s election system vulnerable to fraud. He’s sponsoring a bill that would allow citizens who don’t have an updated ID to use a change of address form, bill or bank statement that shows they’ve lived in that location for 30 days to vote. It would also clarify acceptable forms of ID, which wouldn’t include student identification certificates.
North Dakota lawmakers are proposing changes to the state’s voter identification law after some had problems casting a ballot in November. The proposals come after the Legislature changed North Dakota’s voter identification law two years ago to do away with the voter affidavit process that allowed voters to cast a ballot without proper ID. A bill introduced last week by Rep. Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, would reverse that change and bring back affidavits. “Let’s go back to the 2013 law and start from there,” Mock said. But Rep. Randy Boehning, R-Fargo, said voter affidavits leave the state’s election system vulnerable to fraud. He’s sponsoring a bill that would allow citizens who don’t have an updated ID to use a change of address form, bill or bank statement that shows they’ve lived in that location for 30 days to vote. It would also clarify acceptable forms of ID, which wouldn’t include student identification certificates. Neither proposal, House Bill 1333 or House Bill 1302, has been scheduled for a hearing.
The North Dakota Secretary of State’s Office and Grand Forks Democratic lawmakers are drafting separate bills to tweak the state’s voter identification law. The proposed legislation comes after reports of people being turned away from the polls on Election Day due to identification problems. This year marked the first major election since North Dakota passed a law in 2013 that removed the option to sign an affidavit, allowing voters who didn’t have proper ID to swear under the penalty of law that they are eligible to vote. Jim Silrum, deputy secretary of state, said Friday a proposed bill would allow someone with an acceptable North Dakota ID that doesn’t have an up-to-date address to use things like a bank statement, bill or U.S. Postal Service change of address form dated 30 days prior to the election to show a current address. “The legislation being drafted is trying to provide an option for those individuals that have not (updated their identification), that they can fall back on something else,” Secretary of State Al Jaeger said. “This is what we heard (and) this is how we’re trying to respond to address those situations.”
North Dakota: Secretary of State Al Jaeger gets funding request to cover costs of reviewing ballot measures | Associated Press
A state commission on Wednesday approved Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s emergency funding request to help his agency cover overtime, temporary help and other costs associated with a spate of measures on the Nov. 4 ballot. North Dakota’s Emergency Commission, a six-member panel that includes the governor, legislative leaders and Jaeger, unanimously voted to increase funding to review the measures from $8,000 to $15,000. Voters will decide eight measures this fall, the most on a ballot since there were nine in North Dakota’s 1996 June election, Jaeger said. November elections in 1980 and 1990, and a 1989 special election each had eight ballot measures.
The American Civil Liberties Union is urging Secretary of State Al Jaeger to expand what it calls his “exceedingly narrow” interpretation of North Dakota’s new voter ID law to allow voters to use more forms of identification, warning the law could disenfranchise Native American and disabled voters, among others. Jaeger said Monday he received the letter from the ACLU — as well as a supporting letter from the Fargo-based nonprofit Freedom Resource Center for Independent Living — on Friday and was still reviewing it to develop a response, adding, “I can just go by what the law allows. As to whether we can do anything or not, that remains to be seen,” he said.
Two national groups have sent letters to the North Dakota Secretary of State protesting the application of the state’s new voter identification laws. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom Resources Center for Independent Living claim the new voter ID laws could disenfranchise voters. In its letter, sent on Friday, the ACLU recommends expanding the forms of ID permitted to be used to include items such as passports, game and fish licenses and utility bills. Secretary of State Al Jaeger said Monday his office will review the letters and craft a response. However, he said his office is limited by statute as to what it can do in adopting any recommendations made by the groups.
Officials with the North Dakota Secretary of State’s office said the cause of an election night technical problem with the state’s election results page has been fixed. Secretary of State Al Jaeger said safeguards have also been put in place to ensure any similar problems don’t occur during the Nov. 4 general election. To prevent a repeat of the primary election, a load test of the department’s site will be conducted sometime prior to the November election. Jaeger said testing of the state election website was done prior to the 2012 general election, which produced the largest voter turnout in state history. Deputy Secretary of State Jim Silrum said the problem was a relatively minor one discovered in the system. “It was a query that was running inefficiently,” Silrum said. “I can’t blame it on Information Technology Department; I can’t blame it on our vendor.”
North Dakota: Election results: now you see them, now you don’t as glitch hits website | Daily Journal
North Dakota political junkies scrambling to get primary election results Tuesday night suffered a case of now you see them, now you don’t as a computer glitch confused the numbers. A snafu in the state’s election website had supporters at a party for Fargo’s mayor and deputy mayor refreshing their smartphones and laptops for most of the evening, with only limited results. At one point Tuesday evening, the numbers went backward.
An independent nonprofit organization has released its third analysis of how each state conducts its elections and for the third time North Dakota took the top spot on the list. The Pew Charitable Trusts released its elections performance index Tuesday, which it has released every two years since the 2008 election cycle. Pew based its results using 17 election indicators including voter turnout, the percentage of military and absentee ballots that aren’t returned, online registration to vote and the wait time for being able to vote. With North Dakota being the only state in the country that doesn’t have voter registration, it is exempt from several indicators used in the performance index. In the areas North Dakota was ranked in, it rated above the national average in every single category. “When you see Pew looked at all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and North Dakota consistently ranks very high, that’s encouraging,” North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger said.
Secretary of State Al Jaeger announced a statewide advertising campaign Monday that will use federal money to educate people on voter identification requirements for this year’s primary and general elections. “We want to make sure every qualified voter is made aware,” Jaeger said. The state of North Dakota has “an excellent history of elections” and the educational effort is meant to improve on that history, he said. The campaign, outlined by Jaeger at the state Capitol, consists of television, newspaper and radio advertisements that will be run weekly prior to the June 10 primary election and the Nov. 4 general election. Magazine ads and posters also are planned.
More than six months after North Dakotans voted in the November general election, U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp lost 174 votes and Gov. Jack Dalrymple gained one. Vote tallies for all statewide races and local races in Walsh County were changed by the State Canvassing Board on Thursday after the federal court system realized in mid-February that Walsh County had 300 more votes cast than the number of voters. Secretary of State Al Jaeger said human error happens, and he thinks the canvassing board has never met this long after an election before.
The Senate Appropriations Committee gave a bill that would require a state-issued identification to vote a do pass recommendation on Tuesday. Committee members spent 30 minutes discussing House Bill 1332 before voting 7-6 in favor of the bill. The bill now heads back to the Senate Government and Veterans Affairs Committee for further review. Primary bill sponsor Rep. Randy Boehning, R-Fargo, said the bill deals with voter affidavits and details a requirement for having a state-issued identification to vote. Boehning pointed out a change made by the Government and Veterans Affairs Committee.
North Dakota: Grand Forks activist loses appeal against state election official | Grand Forks Herald
A Grand Forks political activist who accused the secretary of state of discriminating against third-party candidates has lost his appeal before the state Supreme Court. Roland Riemers, a Libertarian who ran for governor last fall, lost his case in Grand Forks County district court in September. The state’s high court affirmed that ruling in an opinion released Tuesday. The case is Roland Riemers v. Alvin Jaeger, the secretary of state. Essentially, Riemers said the state prevented him from appearing on the November ballot as a Libertarian — he ran as an independent — because of a paperwork error, but did not penalize Republican and Democratic gubernatorial candidates for a different paperwork error. He wanted their names off the ballot, too.
The perception that America’s electoral system is rife with voter fraud presents a challenge for elections officials, several secretaries of state said Thursday. “I think perception is a problem. You have to work aggressively to try to deal with perception irrespective of whether or not voter fraud occurs in any degree of significance,” Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller (D) said at a D.C. panel on modernizing the election process hosted by the Brennan Center on Thursday. Miller said his approach was to form an election integrity task force made up of a variety of local officials and law enforcement personnel. “What it has allowed us to do is say, look, this isn’t just one partisan official that’s burying these allegations under the rug, this is a multi-jurisdictional approach. If there were any evidence of it, we’d investigate it.”
A tight U.S. Senate race in North Dakota between Rick Berg and Heidi Heitkamp has some people talking about a possible recount. There is also talk a recount would create nightmares based on North Dakota’s election rules and the fact it is the only state without voter registration. North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger finds this kind of talk irritating. “We’ve done recounts in the past. We know how to do them. If we have a recount, we are prepared,” said Jaeger, who expects strong scrutiny from political parties and their attorneys if a recount is necessary. And he knows what he will tell them: Look, here’s the law, here’s what we’re going to do and this is the plan we’re going to follow.
North Dakota: Judge says North Dakota ban on Election Day campaigning violates free speech rights | Grand Forks Herald
A federal judge on Wednesday barred state and local prosecutors from enforcing North Dakota’s ban on Election Day campaigning, saying the century-old restriction violates political speech rights. “There is no valid justification for the law in modern-day society, nor any compelling state interest offered to support its continued existence,” Judge Daniel Hovland wrote in his 13-page decision. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said Wednesday that Hovland’s ruling will not be appealed. He will ask the Legislature next year to repeal the law, Stenehjem said.
North Dakota: Inquiries prompt Jaeger to make sure election workers are ‘on the same page’ | The Dickinson Press
In yet another sign of North Dakota’s hotly contested U.S. Senate race, the Secretary of State’s Office is fielding questions from party officials about the process for having poll challengers and poll checkers at voting sites. The questions prompted Secretary of State Al Jaeger to email county auditors last week, informing them of balloting rules and that they’ll receive several messages before Election Day to address the inquiries “so that all of us are on the same page.” “Naturally, many questions are being prompted by the predicted closeness of the U.S. Senate race,” Jaeger wrote. “Without doubt, the eyes of the nation will be on North Dakota. Regardless, I know all of us will rise to the occasion and will have another well run election.”
A former North Dakota Republican Party chairman who doesn’t want to take down the political signs in his yard before Nov. 6 has filed a federal lawsuit challenging a century-old state law that bans campaigning on Election Day. Gary Emineth argued Wednesday that the ban violates the free-speech rights of Republicans and Democrats alike. The law, which dates to 1911, bars anyone from attempting to influence others to vote, or not vote, for any candidate or ballot measure on Election Day. The current version exempts billboards and bumper stickers, but North Dakota’s political parties believe it applies to all other forms of advertising, including radio and television spots, newspaper ads and yard signs. To comply with the ban, political candidates and their supporters often scurry to take down yard signs and banners before midnight the day before Election Day.
A conservative group that helped lead the legal battle that would eventually allow for the creation of super PACs is now working to overturn North Dakota’s ban on election day campaigning, arguing it violates the First Amendment. The Center for Competitive Politics is representing former North Dakota Republican Party Chairman Gary Emineth in a lawsuit Emineth filed in federal court Tuesday to overturn the state law. “We think the law is unconstitutional and it should be invalidated,” Allen Dickerson, the center’s legal director, told The Huffington Post. The suit has garnered opposition from Democrats — including the campaign of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp — who believe the suit is intended to help Republican Senate nominee Rep. Rick Berg win the seat.
Eight current North Dakota State University football players and one former player are among 11 people expected to be charged with voter fraud tied to two attempts to place measures on this fall’s general election ballot. Backers of the measures pulled from the ballot expressed sadness Tuesday. “We’re extremely disappointed that this alleged fraud occurred. We had no desires to be on the ballot in any other than a pure and honest way,” said Stephen Adair, chairman of the committee backing a constitutional initiative that, had it passed, would have created a land and water conservation fund.
The Republican primary race in District 28 will have to go to an automatic recount to see who will run for the North Dakota House of Representatives, according to the State Canvassing Board. Jim Silrum, North Dakota deputy secretary of state, said if the difference in vote totals between two candidates is less than 1 percent of the highest vote cast for a candidate for that office, an automatic recount is required. “Almost every election promotes the possibility of a recount, especially in small cities for races like city offices,” Silrum said. “However, the fact that it’s happening in a legislative district primary is certainly not unprecedented.” Ballots cast in six counties — Dickey, McIntosh, LaMoure, Logan, Burleigh and Emmons — will now be recounted beginning Thursday at 9 a.m. and continuing until Monday at 2 p.m.
North Dakota: Unlike the rest of the State, Medora voters must register to vote in North Dakota. | The Jamestown Sun
Attention Medora residents: By the time you read this article, you will have less than 12 hours to be eligible to vote for city elections. Medora is the only city in North Dakota that requires its residents to register. If they don’t register, they don’t vote — no way around it. Voter hopefuls must fill out a form, get it notarized and hand it in to the Medora City Auditor’s Office by 5 p.m. today to register to vote for city elections, according to a public notice from the city auditor. Voter registration in Medora was adopted in the early 1990s due to seasonal workers voting in the June elections, Mayor Doug Ellison said. “It’s up to the municipality to initiate (voter registration) or not, but Medora decided to do it back then just to avoid a repetition of this disputed election,” he said.
North Dakota: Secretary of State warns against lax handling of ballot measure petitions | The Republic
North Dakota’s secretary of state says people who sign ballot measure petitions should make sure the petition carrier sees them do it. Al Jaeger says he’s heard reports of petitions being left unattended for people to sign. Jaeger says that’s against the law, and signatures on those petitions may not be counted. Jaeger says sometimes petitions are downloaded and circulated by people who may not be aware of the rules.