After the 2014 election Democrats pounced on some reports of voting difficulties, specifically among North Dakota university systems. The state’s universities are one of the few solid voting blocs Democrats have in North Dakota, and they claimed that changes made to voter identification requirements were aimed at making it more difficult for students to vote.
“The Republican Supermajority in the 2013 State Legislative Session passed a new voter ID law that is one of the most egregious laws in the nation by eliminating the fail-safe option of voting by affidavit,” Democrat party chairman Bob Valeu wrote in March 2014. “Secretary of State Al Jaeger, a Republican, has since jerry-rigged the rules that now threaten to disenfranchise thousands of North Dakota voters, especially senior citizens, disabled citizens, college students, and Native Americans.”
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]Overall, 92.9 percent of students who wanted to vote were successful. Of those who couldn’t vote, just 36 students said they couldn’t vote because of residency issues.[/mks_pullquote]
But does reality match the histrionics coming from the left? Not according to a survey just released by the Upper Midwest Regional Center on Public Policy at NDSU. They sent out a survey about voting experiences to the state’s university systems.
About 1,800 students responded and of those 1,613 responded to questions specifically about their ability to vote. Of those, over 64 percent voted, 31 percent did not vote and 4.9 percent tried to vote but couldn’t.
That last number sounds disturbingly large, but let’s break it down a bit. Overall, 92.9 percent of students who wanted to vote were successful. Of those who couldn’t vote, just 36 students said they couldn’t vote because of residency issues.
The rest either had problems with absentee ballots or couldn’t vote because of “miscellaneous” problems like not knowing when the polls closed or not knowing it was election day.
In other words, the scope of the problem with student voting (to the extent there is a problem) didn’t match the histrionics we heard from Democrats.
Given that this was our first election cycle under the new voting requirements, one would assume that things would only improve as more people get used to the laws and implementation improves. I really don’t see where North Dakota needs to change anything.
But the Legislature is considering changes. In the first half of the session the state House passed HB1333 which added some acceptable forms of ID, but removed university-provided student certificates as acceptable identification.
Here’s the full report of the survey. More information here.