Lawmakers considering changes to the state's voter ID laws

Published: Mar. 17, 2017 at 10:24 PM CDT
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North Dakota is the only state in the country without voter registration, which makes voting easier in theory.

The American Civil Liberties Union, however, calls the state's voter identification laws the most restrictive in the nation.

The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians are suing the state over voter identification laws.

In response, a federal judge told the state it must allow voters to fill out an affidavit to vote in the 2016 general election.

Lawmakers argue these affidavits allow people to vote illegally by claiming they live where they don't.

A new law would allow legal electors to vote on election day using set-aside ballots, then return with a valid ID within six days

Opponents say this would still disenfranchise a large portion of voters, especially Native Americans.

"The current system isn't working. They don't understand that what they're filling out is a legal document and they can be prosecuted by falsely swearing to that legal document," said Michael Montplaisir, Cass County auditor.

"When it comes right down to it, voting is a fundamental right. It's not like getting on an airplane," said Jennifer Cook, ACLU North Dakota.

This bill would expand the types of identification that could be used to supplement incomplete identification.

A valid voting ID must contain a legal name, current residential street address in North Dakota, and date of birth. That includes a driver's license or nondriver's identification card issued by the North Dakota department of transportation or an official form of identification issued by a tribal government to a tribal member residing in this state

These may be used to supplement identification if the voter's ID is expired or doesn't conform to those requirements:

(1) A current utility bill

(2) A current bank statement

(3) A check issued by a federal, state, or local government

(4) A paycheck

(5) A document issued by a federal, state, or local government.

These are special forms of ID people living in special circumstances can use:

a. For an individual living in a long - term care facility, a long - term care certificate prescribed by the secretary of state and issued by a long - term care facility in this state.

b. For a uniformed service member or immediate family member temporarily stationed away from the individual's residence in this state, or a resident of the state temporarily living outside the country, a current military identification card or passport.

c. For an individual living with a disability that prevents the individual from traveling away from the individual's home, the signature on an absentee or mail ballot application from another qualified elector who, by signing, certifies the applicant is a qualified elector.