Legislative session could bring proposed changes to voting law

Dec 12, 2014

Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider says he has an idea of how to change North Dakota's voter ID law.

The 2014 election was the first election with the new law in effect.  It requires a North Dakota voter to present a valid ID at their voting precinct, which means the information on the ID should match what's on record with the DOT.  Due to confusion at several precincts, some voters were turned away.  Schneider says the new law was meant to address voter fraud, which he says is not a problem in North Dakota.  He says he would prefer a return to the old law, which required that a voter would swear under oath that they are who they say they are to be able to vote.  But he says if that is not possible, he has another proposal.

"I intend to go forward with legislation that would allow for the casting of provisional ballots.  So if an individual does not have a correct ID, they'd be able to cast a provisional ballot and as long as they come back and show a valid ID within a specified period of time, their vote would be counted.  So if there is voter fraud out there, we could address that, and still allow eligible voters to cast a ballot."

Secretary of State Al Jaeger says he has some concern about how provisional ballots would be handled, so that matter would have to be studied very carefully.  Jaeger says he is open to hearing ways to change the law.

"When the session arrives and we see all of the different bills, those that we can support and we feel are beneficial to the election process - we will certainly support those.  Those that we have some concerns about, we will testify before the committees and share with them as to what our concerns are."

Jaeger says 255-thousand people were able to successfully vote in the 2014 election.