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Voter ID bill will make it harder for people to vote

February 13, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
Voter ID laws are a really bad idea that will deny the most poor and vulnerable among us the right to vote.

House Bill 1332, introduced by Rep. Randy Bohening in the North Dakota State Legislature, would require that voters have photo ID issued by the state Department of Transportation or a tribal ID.

Currently, state law allows people to show alternate forms of ID, such as a utility bill with their name and address on it, or to sign an affidavit asserting that they are residents of the district and have a right to vote. Once they have signed the affidavit, they must be allowed to vote.

As I noted last year, this sort of legislation is both unnecessary, since the state does not have a problem with voter fraud, and likely to make life difficult for people on the margins of society to vote. It is not always easy for someone who is homeless, or without transportation, or who has an inflexible work schedule to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles during business hours simply to obtain an ID.

This legislation, as in other states, seems squarely aimed at that population and at making it harder for them to vote.

House Bill 1332 deserves to be defeated.


Article Comments



Feb-14-13 10:19 AM

And no, bodros, I have no plans to move to Chicago. I've lived here all my life and I am a North Dakotan. Fortunately, the state is big enough for people with all sorts of opinions.


Feb-14-13 10:16 AM

I think it should be made as easy as possible for everyone to exercise their right to vote, including uninformed idiots or people who live under bridges and are too unmotivated to find a way to get an ID. Provided they haven't committed some crime that makes them ineligible or haven't lived in the jurisdiction long enough, they have a right to do so.

More to the point, the state does not currently have a problem with voter fraud. Laws of this sort seem aimed mainly at ensuring that "undesirables" don't exercise their right to vote.


Feb-14-13 9:53 AM

Andrea, Why not move to Chicago. Your excuses would fit it in just right in their environment.


Feb-14-13 8:28 AM

Qualifications For Voting In North Dakota. Welcome to the only state that does not have voter registration. In order to vote in North Dakota, you must be: A U.S. citizen. At least 18 years old on the day of an election. A North Dakota resident. A resident in the precinct for 30 days preceding the election.


Feb-14-13 1:58 AM

Also, if someone is so disadvantaged that they live in a corner by WalMart or under a bridge, how could we possibly expect an affidavit to be verified? That person likely has no phone and no mailing address, so how should they be contacted?

I'm all for maintaining civil rights, but that seems like an invitation for fraud. I could sign an affidavit right now saying that I live behind Hardees on North hill and vote under an assumed name, and how would anyone ever prove differently?


Feb-14-13 1:52 AM

If you're so disadvantaged that you can't manage to spend the time to get an ID, why would you spend the time to vote? And even if you did, why would you care? Maybe I'm just lost here, but I can't imagine someone living under a bridge even knowing the names of the candidates, much less being informed about their political positions. If I was living under a bridge, I probably wouldn't pay too much attention to newspapers, TV news, or anything on the internet.


Feb-13-13 11:10 PM

I believe that once a voter has voted, his/her vote should be tallied. As I understand there were over 10,000 affidavits that could not be verified in the allotted time. Things have changed in ND with the great influx of people. We need to work with it, so those who DO vote get their vote counted.


Feb-13-13 7:19 PM

Exactly, not everyone does exercise their right to vote. YOu seem to have this belief that poor sit in their home and never go to the store, or play bingo, or go to flea markets, or garage sales, etc. you are wrong. And they can walk. That is that obsolete travel option that has been thrown by the wayside. There is COA bus. There are so many options and you again believe people to be helpless idiots unable to solve anything for themselves.


Feb-13-13 7:10 PM

People have a right to vote, including homeless people. By current law, if someone is living under the Broadway Bridge or the corner near Wal-Mart and lists that as his habitual address, he has to be allowed to vote if he signs an affidavit. Election workers are supposed to verify the information later but if the person is brave enough to sign that affidavit after being warned that lying warrants jail time, I think he's probably telling the truth. North Dakota does not currently have a voter fraud problem. The system works fine as it is.

And not everyone has a checking account or votes, either. The people this will effect really are the most vulnerable and the poorest and most disadvantaged among us. They ALL have a right to vote. This legislation is violating their civil rights.


Feb-13-13 7:03 PM

If they need an ID for smokes, booze, driving, check writing etc. I think they can get an ID. There is also absentee voting so house bound etc can use that option. If they are homeless, without an address, how do we know they are from the district in which they vote? College ID's are used and the universities have already said that they would add the indiviual's address to the ID card. See how simple that is?


Feb-13-13 6:54 PM

I'd also add that it might be an added inconvenience in a rural state where the nearest driver's license bureau is an hour or more away and reps. may only visit your community one day a month. Making arrangements to go to Devils Lake or Minot to get a photo ID may well mean losing a day of work (and not all employers are understanding or forgiving of such things) and finding someone willing to take that time and lose work hours themselves to drive you to the bureau.


Feb-13-13 6:51 PM

If they already have a driver's license, it isn't a problem; we're talking about people who likely do not drive or have easy access to transportation. Not everyone does drive. I didn't have a driver's license until I was 21 and, when I was in college, I had to beg rides from people or take the city bus. Some people are disabled; some can't afford to have a car and rely on friends or relatives to drive them places or the bus, which does not go all the way out to the Dept. of Transportation. Taxis are also fairly expensive for people on a fixed income. In short, it can be a real inconvenience to get an ID under those circumstances.


Feb-13-13 6:41 PM

Then we also need to exempt poor, homeless, vulnerable from needing drivers licenses. Do you not agree?


Feb-13-13 6:11 PM

I agree. If it's not broke, don't fix it.


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