Will Gardner: We Must Eliminate Unverified Ballots in North Dakota

This guest post was submitted by Will Gardner, a candidate for the NDGOP nomination for Secretary of State.

When you hear of election fraud, do you think of Russian cyber interference or do you think of the thousands of unverified ballots in our last statewide election?

Oh, wait — you don’t know about the 16,000+ ballots in ND that were cast in the 2016 election without an ID?

While voter registration provides some benefits, the irony is that these lawsuits to make us more “accessible” (we’re ranked #1 by Pew already for that), will force us into a less accessible voter registration system.

In Fargo, there were many more affidavits than the margin of victory to flip the legislative seats in their district. Even the 2012 Heitkamp/Berg US senate race was separated by a few thousand votes, so this issue is serious. And it’s a major reason why I’m running for the Republican endorsement for Secretary of State.

How did we get here? During the 2016 election, Democrat-backed plaintiffs challenged state law that required voters to show an ID before voting. Unfortunately, a judge agreed that requiring an ID was a burden, leaving poll workers with no way to verify many voters. As a result, more than 16,000 ballots were cast via “affidavits” — voters with no ID!

Last year the legislature modified the law again, but if the courts continue to rule in favor of allowing unverified affidavit votes, our state will eventually be faced with either accepting the potential for mass voter fraud or implement voter “registration” like the other 49 states. While voter registration provides some benefits, the irony is that these lawsuits to make us more “accessible” (we’re ranked #1 by Pew already for that), will force us into a less accessible voter registration system.

The good news is that there’s time, but it’s running out. We still have an opportunity to save our election system before the courts make their ruling. I am the only candidate who has been publicly campaigning and expressing deep concern about the effects of this lawsuit.

I call upon our current Secretary as well as my Democrat challenger to join me publicly in asking plaintiffs to withdraw their lawsuit in order to continue to provide accessibility while maintaining integrity. If we are successful in the withdraw, we can preserve our election system for future generations!

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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