North Dakota’s 2021 legislative redistricting plan violates the rights of two Native American tribes because it dilutes their voting strength, a federal judge ruled Friday.
U.S. District Chief Judge Peter Welte said the redrawn legislative districts violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The ruling came months after a trial held in June in Fargo. The decision could lead to another surprise special session of the Legislature.
In his ruling, Welte said the plan approved by the state Legislature to redraw voting districts in accordance with the latest census data “prevents Native American voters from having an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice” – a violation of the landmark civil rights law.