Agreement reached over 'tribal IDs' and voting | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Agreement reached over 'tribal IDs' and voting

Feb 14, 2020

A settlement has been reached in the lawsuit Spirit Lake, Standing Rock and other tribes brought against North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger over tribal IDs and other ballot access concerns.

The suit centered around the state’s ID requirements for voting. State law says a valid ID must have a person’s name, date of birth and physical address.  The tribes said many of their reservation residents only had a post office box number, not a street address.

Emergency rules were approved by Gov. Doug Burgum. The rules recognize the different forms of ID each tribe has, and will relieve certain burdens on the Tribes to determine street addresses for their members.

"It's a big achievement," Jaeger said. "With tribal identification, it enhances a process by those on tribal lands that may not have a residential address, it establishes an address for them."

Tribal attorney Tim Purdon said timing of the announcement is crucial, because it paves the way for affected residents to cast their ballots in a high-profile election.

"I think that the scheduling of this case for trial in May was the court telling the parties that it wanted to get these issues resolved before the 2020 election," Purdon told the Prairie News Service.  "And I think, in response to that, the state was motivated to enter settlement agreements. And it is our desire to get these protections in place in time for 2020 elections."

Earlier this week, a federal judge overseeing one of the lawsuits challenging the voter ID law refused a request by the state to dismiss the suit.