GOP voter ID bill an “unnecessary impediment to voting”

(BISMARCK, N.D.) – House Bill 1332, which imposes a voter ID requirement on North Dakota voters, passed the North Dakota Senate today on a 30 to 16 vote.

“While the act of voter fraud is serious, it is also virtually unheard of in North Dakota,” Senate Democratic leader Mac Schneider, D-Grand Forks, said. “We’re spending taxpayer funds on a so-called solution to a problem that has arisen, at most, a couple times in the last two decades and has never impacted the outcome of an election. This is part of a national, partisan effort on the voter ID issue that does not wash when you consider the scrupulous nature of North Dakota voters.”

Voter fraud in North Dakota is almost nonexistent. After the 2012 general election, officials identified nine alleged cases of voter fraud out of 325,862 votes cast, or 0.0000276 percent. From 2000 to 2010, only one case of voter fraud was criminally prosecuted in the state.

Indeed, North Dakota has been constantly singled out for its impeccable record when it comes to elections, with the state being recognized by the Pew Charitable Trusts as having the highest Election Performance Index in the country. In an interview just two months ago, Secretary of State Al Jaeger stated, “In my 20 years as Secretary of State, we’ve only had one or two or three cases of what we’d consider fraud.”

Similarly, with its passage, the bill stands to create unnecessary costs to the state. According to the bill’s fiscal note requiring the NDDOT to provide non-driver’s license IDs free of charge would decrease state revenues by $204,087 per biennium. Additionally, the NDDOT estimates that the cost to produce and provide additional non-photo ID cards costs $12,296 per biennium.

The bill will also unnecessarily restrict ballot access for elderly voters. According to AARP, 18% of elderly Americans do not have photo ID. While the bill calls for the NDDOT to administer ID cards for free, 25 counties in North Dakota do not have a DOT location at which individuals would be able to obtain these non-driver IDs.

“This bill is an unnecessary impediment to voting for young and old alike,” House Democratic leader Kenton Onstad, D-Parshall, said. “Under this proposal, your grandma, grandpa or neighbor, many of whom have been voting in the same precinct for decades, can be turned away from their polling locations for not having proper ID. This is not about voter fraud.”

The House will now consider the Senate amendments to HB 1332 prior to final consideration


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