North Dakota lawmakers are again considering changes to the state’s voter identification requirements, an issue that has landed the state in federal court over previous laws passed by the Legislature. House Bill 1369 would help preserve the integrity of the state’s elections, House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, said in testimony to the House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee Friday, Jan. 27. “By no means does this bill attempt to disenfranchise voters,” he said. “This bill only attempts to verify and make that those voters are, in fact, true North Dakota residents and are allowed to vote.” The bill would require qualified electors to provide a driver’s license, non-driver’s identification card or tribal ID. If the ID doesn’t include the required information or is out of date, the voter could present supplemental documents such as a current utility bill, bank statement or a government-issued check.
The bill also includes options for “special circumstances,” such as people living in a long-term care facility, a service member stationed away from home and for disabled people who can’t travel.
The bill, introduced by Carlson and several other Republican lawmakers, comes after Secretary of State Al Jaeger was hit with a lawsuit that argues the voter ID laws passed by the Legislature in 2013 and 2015 disproportionately burdened Native Americans. Online court filings indicate that case is open, but no hearings are scheduled.