North Dakota Democrats Promote Message Telling Hunters They May Lose Their Licenses if They Vote

Sam Cook/Forum News Service

Sending out mailers backing a conservative independent candidate in the Secretary of State race isn’t the only way in which North Dakota Democrats are trying to mislead voters.

A reader alerted me to this curious message on Facebook which tells voters they may lose their hunting licenses in other states if they vote:

Facebook keeps a searchable database of the political ads which run on their platform. I searched for this particular ad to verify it, and it’s real (UPDATE: Per the linked FB database it appears as though the ad has been deactivated).

Paid for by the North Dakota Democratic-NPL:

If you click on the link in the ad, it takes you to a landing page on the North Democratic Party’s website which contains this message:

The ad is promoting a Facebook Page titled “Hunter Alert,” though at this point there is no content there other than some logos.

I reached out to Democrats about the ad, asking what facts they’re basing this claim that hunters may lose their licenses for voting on. The Democrats typically don’t respond to my inquiries, however.

I’ve been writing about politics for more than 15 years now, and this is the first time I’ve ever heard of something like this.

I contacted Secretary of State Al Jaeger and asked if he’d ever heard of this claim before. “No,” he told me. “We’re not involved at all in the requirements for getting a hunting license. A question like what you have needs to be directed to the Game & Fish Department. I doubt that there’s any connection.”

“We’ve never heard of that,” Randy Meissner, the licensing manager for North Dakota Game & Fish, told me when I contacted him and read him the text of the ad. I sent him the links and screenshots for the ad and he said he was going to run the claim by his administration.

Obviously most states have a distinction between resident hunting and fishing licenses and non-resident licenses. I suppose the ad could be making an allusion to that, but it doesn’t make the distinction. A plain reading could lead a North Dakota voter to believe that their perfectly legal, non-resident hunting or fishing license in South Dakota or Minnesota could be at jeopardy from voting.

At best, this ad is deeply irresponsible. And a bit hypocritical coming as it does at a time when North Dakota Democrats are accusing the Republican legislative majority in the state of trying to suppress Native American votes with voter ID requirements.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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