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Politics & Government

Voter ID bill passes Senate

The state Senate has approved a bill to require voters to show an ID.

Under current law, when you go to the polls, you must have some form of identification – a driver’s license, an electric bill or some other form. If you don’t have one, a poll worker can vouch for your – or you can sign an affidavit. In the last election, over 10-thousand North Dakota voters signed an affidavit.

The measure as passed by the Senate would require you to have an ID – either a driver’s license, or a non-driving ID issued by the Department of Transportation, or a voter card from the Secretary of State. If you want one of the alternate forms of ID, you have to have a birth certificate. But it won’t cost you anything.

"Some would suggest that this might limit access to the ballot," said Sen. Dick Dever (R-Bismarck). "I would suggest that our allowing them to have an ID at no cost increases access to the ballot, and most certainly, protects the integrity of that ballot."

Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider (D-Grand Forks) says the bill is part of a national movement by the Republican party that could discourage some voters from going to the polls. Schneider says there’s been no voter fraud problem in North Dakota.

"Those charges just don't square with the scrupulously honest voters we have in North Dakota," said Schneider. "It's misguided, and doesn't serve a purpose in our state."

The Senate passed it 30-16. It will return to the House to see if there is agreement with Senate amendments.

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