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Voter ID Opponents Lose Again. This Time in North Dakota.

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Unread 08.08.19, 09:20 PM
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Voter ID Opponents Lose Again. This Time in North Dakota.

On 08.08.19 12:42 PM posted by Hans von Spakovsky

Opponents of election integrity lost the latest in a long string of cases recently when a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated North Dakota’s voter ID requirement and tossed out an injunction that had been issued by a lower court.

In Brakebill v. Jaeger, Judge Steven Colloton, writing for the 2-to-1 majority, concluded that the supposed burden of obtaining an ID by the less than 0.5% of all eligible voters who do not already have one did not justify a statewide injunction that prevented the state from implementing the ID requirement.

North Dakota is the onlystate in the Union that does not require citizens to register to vote.

You can show up on Election Day and vote in North Dakota—as long you show identification.

The state Legislature passed a series of laws delineating the forms of identification that could be used to vote.

Effective Aug. 1, 2017,North Dakota required either a driver’s license, a nondriver’s identificationcard issued by the state Department of Motor Vehicles, or an “official form ofidentification issued by a tribal government to a tribal member residing in thestate.”

The law requires the IDto provide the voter’s legal name, current residential address, and date ofbirth.

However, if a voter’s IDis missing any of those three items, the voter will still be able to cast aballot if he provides the missing information with a current utility bill, bankstatement, paycheck, or a check or other document issued by a federal, state,or local government agency.

Voters have up to six days after the election to present an acceptable ID or supplemental documents. Despite the fact that the lower court thought this provision would not be understood by the average voter, the appeals court noted that there was “no evidence of voter confusion over this provision.”

Six members of theTurtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians sued, claiming that the ID requirementrestricted the ability of tribal members to register and exercise their rightto vote, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, state law, and Section 2 of theVoting Rights Act of 1965.

The tribal members argued that“Native Americans often live on reservations or in other rural areas wherepeople do not have street addresses; even if they do … those addresses are frequentlynot included on tribal IDs. Moreover … Native Americans in North Dakota are‘disproportionately homeless.’”

Although it should be pointed outthat all six of these plaintiffs actually have residential addresses.

The majority rejected the plaintiffs’ contention that requiring voters to have a residential street address is discriminatory, citing former Associate Justice John Paul Stevens’ opinion in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (2008), in which the Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter ID requirement.

A “residential street addressfurthers North Dakota’s legitimate interest in preventing voter fraud andsafeguarding voter confidence, so unlike a poll tax, it is not invidiously ‘unrelatedto voter qualifications.’”

The number of North Dakotans, just like the residents of other states, who already possess a photo ID is overwhelming. The court found that less than 0.5% of eligible voters in the state do not already have an ID or the supplemental documents that can be used to meet the ID requirement.

More importantly, the plaintiffs inthe case presented no evidence whatsoever to detail how many of these “votersattempted to obtain a supplemental document and were unsuccessful.”

It was clear to the court that thestate ID law did not place “a substantial burden on most North Dakota voters.” Thus,a “statewide injunction” was “unwarranted.”

The clamor around mythical claims of“voter suppression” over legislation like North Dakota’s ID requirement ismisguided.

Such laws are designed and intendedto shore up current deficiencies in the electoral system.

As pointed out in a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, voter ID laws have no discernible effect on reducing the turnout of voters. Over the period 2008 to 2016, the researchers concluded that voter ID “laws have no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any group defined by race, gender, age, or party affiliation.”

The purpose of North Dakota’s election laws is rooted in a desire to promote election integrity. Far from being a trivial concern, election fraud has been and continues to be an unfortunate part of American elections, as can be seen in The Heritage Foundation’s election fraud database.

Although election integrity measuressuch as voter ID requirements are often presented as a partisan issue, they shouldnot be. Everyone has an interest in fair and secure elections.

As noted in a 2005 study by the Commission of Federal Election Reform, headed by former President Jimmy Carter and Secretary of State James Baker:
The electoral system cannot inspire public confidence if no safeguards exist to deter or detect fraud or to confirm the identity of voters. Photo IDs currently are needed to board a plane, enter federal buildings, and cash a check. Voting is equally important.

The post Voter ID Opponents Lose Again. This Time in North Dakota. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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