tuesday, 6 november of 2018


Judge rejects Native American challenge to North Dakota voter law

Chief Judge Daniel Hovland of the US District Court for the District of North Dakota on Thursday rejected a request by Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe to prevent the enforcement of a voter address rule requiring a residential street address in order to vote.

The challengers sought to enjoin the enforcement of the North Dakota Century Century Code (NDCC) sections 16.1-01-04.1(2)(b) and 16.1-01-04.1(3)(b) that require a voter to have identification that includes a “current residential street address” before casting a vote. The law had been previously challenged and the US Supreme Court refused to intervene after the appeal from the Eighth Circuit, which ruled in favor of the law.

The challengers initially brought this complaint due to the disparate impact of the laws on the Native American communities, alleging voter suppression. They sought a Temporary Restraining Order to prevent the laws from affecting the coming election. The Chief Judge denied the request for the emergency order given that granting such an order would cause voter confusion.

Some of the reservations in North Dakota do not have street addresses or number the homes on the reservation. Before the current law, the people who lived on reservations were able to use a PO Box address for voting. The enforcement of the laws has caused the tribes in North Dakota to struggle to make sure that their members can vote. North Dakota is a key state in the battle for control in the Senate and a majority of the state’s tribal citizens cast votes for Democratic candidates, which could affect an outcome in a close race.

(Published by Jurist, November 2, 2018)

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