U.S. Supreme Court upholds delay in challenge to N.D. voting laws


The U.S. Supreme Court today turned down an appeal of a lower court ruling that put off until after election day a challenge to North Dakota’s voting laws.

Six North Dakotans are challenging  what is an acceptable form of voter identification.

North Dakota law requires a person provide proof he or she lives at a residential address in the precinct at which they are voting.

That proof is usually in the form of a state or tribal government issued ID, such as a driver’s license.

What can’t be used as proof of residence is a mailing address, such as a Post Office Box or general mail showing a mailing address.

The North Dakota residents challenged the exclusion of mailing addresses, and a District Court agreed, ordering the Secretary of State to accept mailing addresses as proof of residence.

The Secretary of State’s office asked for a stay on the order until after the election, arguing that accepting mailing addresses such as P.O. boxes, could allow voters to cast ballots in the wrong precincts, diluting the votes of those who live in those precincts. Enough wrong-precinct voters could affect the outcome of local races.

The Eighth Circuit agreed and delayed enforcement of the District Court ruling until after the election.

That ruling was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied the appeal.

New Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was not involved in the decision.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of State’s office reports, as of today, a little over 11,000 North Dakotans have cast absentee ballot for the November election.

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