North Dakota Democrats Object To Amendments Strengthening Voter ID Laws

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HB1332, introduced by Rep. Randy Boehning, originally would have changed North Dakota’s voter residency requirement from needing to have lived in the state/district for 30 days before the election to 30 days before absentee ballots are sent out. In committee, Rep. Boehning introduced amendments changing the bill significantly to require a state or tribal-issued ID with photo, address and date of birth.

Under current law poll workers may request an ID, but things such as utility bills and college ID’s which aren’t conclusive in establishing residency can be used. Many people vote without any ID at all. Rep. Boehning mentions in the video below that as many as 10,000 ballots were cast in the last election on affidavits of residency that were never verified.

That’s a problem. Those votes could have been the difference in the Senate race between Heitkamp and Berg were they illegitimate.

Not surprisingly, Democrats objected to these amendments, but their arguments on the floor of the House took the form of concern trolling the amendments claiming there wasn’t enough time for public input on the amendments. Of course, amendments to bills are never given a full hearing in the legislature (the only have 80 days), so really what Democrats are objecting to is being the minority party with little say over this sort of policy.

Perhaps, if they want to change that, they should win more elections. Here’s the video:

ND Republicans are proposing a slate of changes to election laws in the state (I reviewed the laws being considered a couple of weeks ago). Changes in residency requirements, changes in the way ballots cast without proper ID are handled, changes in the time available for early/absentee voting and changes in oversight of voting are all on the table.

Democrats benefit in a big way from thousands of votes cast by college students on the state’s campuses, many of whom have nothing more invested in the state than a few weeks living in a dorm room.

We need these changes, but Democrats will fight them hard.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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