There have been many news articles and letters to the editor recently regarding alarming elections legislation being discussed in the North Dakota Legislature.
North Dakota Voters First feels that these bills are a ‘solution in search of a problem’ and are just plain unnecessary. We are a non-partisan voter advocacy group. Part of our job is to be a watchdog for potential voter suppression.
Unfortunately, this batch of very partisan legislation is being proposed by a small group of Republican legislators that are following a national trend of conspiracy-based opinions. This proposed legislation doesn’t strengthen our North Dakota voting system; it damages it.
Instead, we urge this group of legislators to focus their energy on Covid relief for North Dakotans. Unemployment, housing and hunger are all very important issues right now. There needs to be a sense of urgency, and many other legislators are working hard to be helpful.
North Dakota had record voter turnout this last election, and Donald Trump won the state by a large margin. The voting system works here, and many folks I know really appreciate the way that early voting is set up. Additionally, many of the legislators proposing this unfortunate legislation were elected by the same voting system that they’re attacking. It doesn’t make sense.
To be perfectly clear: Voting is a fundamental right of our democratic republic in the United States. Some of this proposed legislation aims to attack that right. It’s wrong-headed and simply an outrage.
Thoughtful legislation to strengthen North Dakota’s voting system and to make voting convenient for folks is always helpful. Unfortunately, this rash of newly proposed, partisan legislation doesn’t have that goal in mind.
Communications and policy director
North Dakota Voters First
(Guest Column submitted to ND xPlains by Rick Gion of North Dakota Voters First)