Today, Tim Purdon with Robins Kaplan, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), and Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Spirit Lake Tribe and six individual plaintiffs to ensure that eligible Native American voters residing on reservations in North Dakota will be able to cast a ballot in the 2018 midterm elections and in all future elections.
Under current law, North Dakotans can’t vote unless they have identification that shows their name, birth date, and residential address. Recent investigations demonstrate that the law threatens to disenfranchise not only those who do not have street addresses or access to the necessary ID but also those whose addresses the state deems “invalid.” The state’s own addressing system appears to be incomplete, contradictory, and prone to error on reservations.
North Dakota tribal communities have been mobilizing to provide the necessary IDs to those living on reservations, with no help from the state of North Dakota. Despite their efforts, North Dakota’s voter ID law could prevent many eligible Native Americans from casting a ballot in the upcoming election on November 6. The lawsuit asks the court to provide targeted relief for affected voters in time for Tuesday’s election.