In a transparently partisan maneuver, the ACLU of North Dakota and a Fargo non-profit called the Freedom Resource Center for Independent Living (which also just happens to be the employer of state Senator Tyler Axness, who is currently running as a Democrat candidate for the PSC) has sent a letter to Secretary of State Al Jaeger asking him to loosen enforcement of North Dakota’s new voter ID laws.
These groups are claiming that the law disenfranchises voters, but here’s the funny part: A spokeswoman for the ACLU admitted she didn’t actually know how many people weren’t able to vote because they didn’t have ID:
Heather Smith, executive director of the ACLU for North Dakota and South Dakota, said the letter to Jaeger was prompted in part by reports from voters who were turned away from the polls because of the new ID requirements during the June 10 statewide election and a March local election in Fargo.
Smith said she didn’t know the exact number of reports received but added it “was more than we had anticipated, and especially more than what we have received during previous elections” under the old law.
How can you say that something is a problem when you don’t know the scope of the problem? The ACLU doesn’t know how many people were turned away for want of proper ID in the June election, and they don’t know if that’s more or less than were turned away due to qualification issues from previous elections.
Because that doesn’t matter. They have an ideological objection to these sorts of laws that transcends facts, I guess.
What’s irksome is that it’s easier to vote in North Dakota than pretty much any other state in the nation. Voters aren’t required to register. All that’s required is 30 days of residency in the state, something that isn’t even verified. Now with the new voter ID laws you simply need current identification that includes a residential North Dakota address, your name, and your date of birth.
What’s more, you don’t even have to pay for the ID. If you don’t already have a North Dakota driver’s license you can get a state ID for free.
But let’s be honest. What North Dakota Democrats are worried about is the campus vote. Every year a lot of students from outside of North Dakota with nothing more invested in the state than some time spent in a dorm room here are casting their ballots and influencing elections, particularly in Grand Forks and Fargo. Those students aren’t likely to have North Dakota identification with a residential address in North Dakota, so they won’t be able to vote.
Which is fine. They shouldn’t be influencing North Dakota elections anyway. If they want to have a say in how North Dakota is governed, they should set up a more permanent sort of residency and get the proper ID.