Some great news for North Dakota, courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court. North Dakota came up with a voter ID law in order to ensure security at elections. And now the Court just allowed the law to take effect and apply to the upcoming midterm elections and it may have an effect on the critical Senate race in the state.
The law requires people to have a government issued ID with a current street address. This would then be a great preventative against illegal voting.
A group of American Indians challenged the residential street address requirement, arguing that it imposes “impossible and severe burdens on the franchise for Native American voters,” as many live on reservations or otherwise lack ordinary street addresses. A federal judge agreed and prohibited the law.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted that order, so the plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court, asking the justices to restore the injunction.
North Dakota argues that the law protects the integrity of the ballot box and improves the administration of elections — the state’s filing at the high court notes there were over 800 different ballots used in the state during the 2016 election cycle, which are assigned on the basis of address.
The Supreme Court’s Tuesday order allowed the law to take effect for the general election. As is typical of orders of this nature, neither the vote count nor the reasoning was disclosed. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a short dissent, which Justice Elena Kagan joined.
Ginsburg didn’t argue against the merit of the case and substance of the law but dissented arguing that because the injunction had been in effect for the primaries in June it could create a confusion for voters who might not be aware of the new requirement and that could result in a disenfranchisement.
Of course, that would be true whenever it started, however, so the answer would simply be to have the proper notification sent out with sample ballots and run in media.
And the simple solution would be to carve out what would qualify as a residential address for those who did not have one by using the post office address like they used to with an RFD address.
In the Senate race, Republican Kevin Cramer is leading by a significant margin, according to most polls, over Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and the lead increased after Heitkamp voted against the confirmation of new Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
New Justice Brett Kavanaugh did not participate in that case although he began to hear his first oral arguments on Tuesday in other cases.
Let’s hope that that’s a positive indication of where the Court might go on other voter ID cases.