BISMARCK, ND (AP) – The Spirit Lake Sioux tribe sued the state of North Dakota on Tuesday for its electoral requirements as part of a larger effort to ensure that Indians vote in the wake of a US government election next week may judgment of the Supreme Court in a similar lawsuit of another tribe.
To cast a ballot, voters in North Dakota must be identified with a provable road – something that is hard to find on reservations. The state claims that the nationwide 911 system has everyone on the street, but the lawsuit from the Native American Rights Fund, the Campaign Legal Center and two law firms think the system is "incomplete, contradictory and error-prone". [1
The lawsuit has been filed The US District Court wants the street address declared unconstitutional.
"We have a choice between a democracy that includes all voters and a system that excludes people because of their circumstances or background," said Lang. "If the court does not intervene, eligible Native American voters, including our clients, will be denied voting rights next week as the state has a very flawed system for allocating and verifying voters' residential addresses."
Secretary of State Al Jaeger said state does not comment on pending litigation.
The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa sued voter identification requirements in 2016. A ruling from the US Supreme Court in this case earlier this month allowed the state to demand street addresses, unlike other addresses like mailboxes. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, however, said deviantly that "the risk of voter confusion seems to be serious here."
The four major Native American tribes in North Dakota have been fighting since the Supreme Court's ruling to ensure that their members vote in the election, which includes a race that could help determine control of the US Senate. Republican US Representative Kevin Cramer challenges Democratic incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who narrowly won his seat in 2012 with the help of US voters.
The state's electoral ID laws were tightened just months later, but Republican-led legislation claims the changes were not due to Heitkamp's victory. Jaeger said the changes aim to protect against electoral fraud.
The four tribes of recent days have issued free IDs with residential addresses to their members, but the Spirit Lake lawsuit argues that the 911 addressing system "is characterized by clutter, errors, confusion, and missing or conflicting addresses." cites several examples of tribal members who have encountered problems, including a man who used the residential address given in his state passport on an absence election request and had rejected it because of an "invalid" address.
The battle over voter access is Not limited to North Dakota, voters in at least eight states will face stricter laws than in recent federal elections, according to the impartial Brennan Center for Justice!