Judge Allows North Dakota Republicans To Prevent Native Americans From Voting

"Activists are scrambling to help North Dakota’s Native American voters comply with a new voter ID law in time to cast ballots for the midterm election." (NBC)Screengrab/NBC News/YouTube

Federal judge Daniel Hovland said changing the rules so close to an election could generate confusion.

Citing the potential for confusion so close to election day, a North Dakota judge declined to review the controversial voter law passed by the state’s Republicans that many say will make voting far more difficult for North Dakota’s Native Americans.

From The Independent:

> While expressing concerns about the law, federal judge Daniel Hovland said it was inappropriate to order a change so close to the midterm elections, as it could create confusion.

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> The controversial law requires North Dakota residents to show identification with a current street address. Many residents of Native American reservations, who tend to vote for Democrats according to NPR, do not have street addresses.

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> Rather, they have Post Office box numbers, which do not qualify under the rules. In October, the Supreme Court declined to overturn the law.

Critics of the move say it is a blatant attempt by Republicans to disenfranchise Native Americans after Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp won by less than 3,000 votes in 2012 — with the support of the Native American community.

The Independent said studies by Native Americans rights groups show that about 35 percent of the population does not have an ID with a residential address.

While Hovland said the accusations of voter suppression gave him “great cause for concern” and a response from the secretary of state was warranted, changing the rules this close to an election could cause problems.

> “The federal courts are unanimous in their judgment that it is highly important to preserve the status quo when elections are fast approaching,” he wrote.

More here.

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