Poll tax or North Dakota Century Code?

Local News

A potential access issue for all North Dakotans this June is the $1.20 in postage required to mail off your ballot.

The ACLU of North Dakota calls it a 21st-century poll tax, because people are, in a way, having to pay to vote.

Dane DeKrey, the Advocacy Director for the ACLU of North Dakota, says it goes against the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits a poll tax in any federal election.

He says it’s something the non-profit’s legal team is looking into. DeKrey says the solution is to send ballots in a pre-paid envelope.

“When we say poll tax, what we essentially mean is it shouldn’t cost you anything to vote, period. It’s easy to say, ‘Well 55 cents isn’t a lot, $1.20 isn’t a lot’, but that’s always the proverbial slippery slope argument, that we as an organization were created to argue against,” DeKrey explains.

The ACLU has also filed lawsuits about this in other states, most notably Georgia.

The U.S. District Court concluded that a remedy would not be realistic to implement in time for the June election.

The ACLU’s proposal was denied, but only for the June election. The court says it reserves judgment on whether relief will be necessary for future elections, including this November’s.

DeKrey says in North Dakota, legal action will be a last resort.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger says by State law, the voter is required to pay postage for any type of absentee ballot.

Here’s the language he’s referring to in the North Dakota Century Code:

“…A voter voting by absentee ballot may not require the political subdivision providing the ballot to bear the expense of the return postage for an absentee ballot.” – NDCC 16.1-07-08 (1)

Jaeger says the law does not allow for prepaid ballots, and he says, this goes for any election cycle when North Dakotans request absentee ballots.

He says he has never heard a concern from the 33 counties that have long gone by the mail-in only option.

“On the other hand, if we could only vote by polling location, there is some cost involved of driving to that polling location. And so, there’s convenience in it,” added the Secretary of State.

As of today, 161,457 ballots have been sent out. 41,009 have been returned.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Recent Videos

Bismarck Graduates

Thumbnail for the video titled "Bismarck Graduates"

Parents react to graduation

Thumbnail for the video titled "Parents react to graduation"

Robert One Minute 5-24

Thumbnail for the video titled "Robert One Minute 5-24"

State Lab Equipment Malfunction

Thumbnail for the video titled "State Lab Equipment Malfunction"

Bottineau Track

Thumbnail for the video titled "Bottineau Track"

Watford City Summer School

Thumbnail for the video titled "Watford City Summer School"

Minot Gated Community

Thumbnail for the video titled "Minot Gated Community"

Barricaded Subject in Bismarck

Thumbnail for the video titled "Barricaded Subject in Bismarck"

COVID-19 Case Report Update 5-24

Thumbnail for the video titled "COVID-19 Case Report Update 5-24"

Spring golf championship

Thumbnail for the video titled "Spring golf championship"

Bismarck Brewery

Thumbnail for the video titled "Bismarck Brewery"

Robert Suhr KX News 6pm Forecast 5-23-20

Thumbnail for the video titled "Robert Suhr KX News 6pm Forecast 5-23-20"

Robert One Minute 5-23

Thumbnail for the video titled "Robert One Minute 5-23"

XWA Airport

Thumbnail for the video titled "XWA Airport"

Tioga Prom

Thumbnail for the video titled "Tioga Prom"

DCB Baseball

Thumbnail for the video titled "DCB Baseball"

Case Numbers Update 5-23

Thumbnail for the video titled "Case Numbers Update 5-23"

Columbus Zoo Jamani

Thumbnail for the video titled "Columbus Zoo Jamani"

Broadway Circle Details

Thumbnail for the video titled "Broadway Circle Details"
More Video

KX News Trending Stories

Don't Miss

Daily Pledge

More Daily Pledge