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Court OKs Settlement Resolving North Dakota Voter ID Suit


April 27, 2020

A North Dakota federal judge on Monday approved a settlement between Native American tribes and North Dakota’s secretary of state that expands voter identification options for tribe members at the polls.

The Spirit Lake Tribe and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe submitted a consent decree Friday with Secretary of State Al Jaeger, formalizing a settlement the parties reached in February. The settlement resolved two suits alleging state voter identification laws discriminated against Native American voters.

Moving forward, Native American voters who are not able to confirm their street address at the polls will be able to mark where they live on a map before casting their ballots, according to the decree. The onus will then be on the state to assign an address to the voter.

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The state will also reimburse tribes for the cost of issuing IDs and addresses to members, according to the decree.

“The court finds the consent decree is fair, reasonable, and consistent with the law and the public interest,” U.S. District Judge Daniel L. Hovland wrote Monday.

Monday’s order ends years of litigation over alleged disenfranchisement of Native American voters in North Dakota, thanks to multiple iterations of a law that limited valid voter identification.

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The plaintiffs are represented by Timothy Q. Purdon of Robins Kaplan LLP; Jacqueline De León and Matthew Campbell of the Native American Rights Fund; Mark P. Gaber, Danielle M. Lang and Molly Danahy of the Campaign Legal Center; and Joseph M. Sellers of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.

Read Court OKs Settlement Resolving North Dakota Voter ID Suit.