During the 2013 legislative session, the North Dakota Legislature passed HB1332 which changed the requirements for voter ID laws in the state. At the time, many on the left like myself said that the law was unnecessary, that it was a solution looking for a problem, and that the new requirements were likely to result in the unintended (or perhaps intended) consequence of disfranchising older voters, younger voters, people in poverty, and minorities.
So far, we have been proven right.
Last Tuesday, 98 year old Jamestown World War II veteran Ernest Hubacker, went to vote. However, Hubacker was not allowed to vote. Hubacker did have a state issued photo ID, however, it was in the form of a drivers license that was expired.
According to the Jamestown Sun, Hubacker was among a over 15 residents who showed up to vote in Jamestown and were turned away because of North Dakota’s new Voter ID law.
Let’s pay attention to that number, in a primary election, in which we saw record low turnout across the state, one voting precinct had at least 15 people turned away because they lacked the proper state issued ID to vote. If that number held true across the 427 precincts across the state (which I pray it did not), that would be over 6,400 North Dakotan’s who showed up to vote but were not able to because of North Dakota voter ID laws. Even if the real number of voters at the average precinct was half of that, it is still a huge number.
The voter ID law in North Dakota was not necessary. We have always done a really good job as a state at self-policing ourselves, and as a result, have had very little voter fraud. The new North Dakota voter ID laws were nothing more than a part of a nationwide effort by the GOP to suppress votes. Not that they would ever admit this (well sometimes they do) but the voter ID effort has always been about suppressing voters who are likely to vote for Democrats.
Ernest Hubacker is a victim of that reality.