North Dakota College Students Confused by Simple Residency Laws for Some Reason


Voting booths at Hermosa Beach City Hall during California Primary

Last month some were raising a stink because the North Dakota University System warned students that if they sign an affidavit attesting their residency in their campus voting precinct that might put at risk any financial aid which might beĀ dependent on their residency somewhere else.

Today, election day, in what almost seems like a stunt staged to get headlines and promote discord over election laws, some NDSU students are telling the Associated Press that they felt “uneasy about voting” because they’d been “given confusing information about financial aid at an early voting site at the Fargodome on campus.”

Freshman Phoebe Ellis says she and others were told voting could threaten their financial aid by changing their state residency status. Assistant Professor Chelsea Pace says more than half a dozen students told her similar stories.

I’m not sure what’s so confusing about this.

You are required to vote in the precinct where you reside. In North Dakota, if you don’t have a valid ID with your current address on it, you can sign an affidavit attesting that you live in that precinct. But if you sign that affidavit it could impact student aid if that aid is tied to your residency being somewhere else. Like in another state.

It is entirely proper to warn students about this potential problem. Which is why I didn’t understand all theĀ sturm und drang over the NDUS warning students about this weeks ago. That sort of warning was intended to avoid students being confused on election day so that they can cast a legal ballot. Students heeding it would have checked on their financial aid requirements so that they could either go ahead and vote in their campus precinct or, if need be, cast an absentee ballot based on the residency their aid is contingent upon.

Honestly, this isn’t rocket science. I mean, these are college students we’re talking about.

But again, I don’t think anyone is really confused. I think this is a manifestation of a political agenda aimed at undermining our election laws.