ND, tribes settle federal cases over tribal ID voting concerns

State News

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The Spirit Lake Nation, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, other plaintiffs and the North Dakota Secretary of State have signed an “agreement in principle” that settles two federal cases and other issues related to tribal ID voting and ballot concerns.

The key resolution: All parties agree to settlement terms designed to, “ensure all Native Americans who are qualified electors can vote and relieve certain burdens on the tribes related to determining residential street addresses for their tribal members and issuing tribal IDs,” according to a news release from the Secretary of State’s office.

The deal also aims to, “ensure ongoing cooperation through mutual collaboration between the State and the Tribes to address concerns or issues that may arise in the future,” according to the news release.

The agreement would settle two federal lawsuits filed after North Dakota’s election laws were updated to require, among other things, a residential street address on ID shown at a polling place to verify a person is qualified to vote at that poll.

“I’m happy with the results of the mediation,” Secretary of State Al Jaeger said in an interview Thursday with KX News. “I think it was something that worked out for both sides. We’ll continue working on the 2020 elections. And again, our goal has always been that every qualified elector to do everything in the state of North Dakota regardless of where they live.”

The final agreement now goes to the Spirit Lake Nation’s Council and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Council for formal approval. It has already been signed by legal counsel for the plaintiffs in the suits and the Secretary of State.

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