** FILE ** In this Nov. 4, 2008 file photo, the rising sun casts voters’ shadows as they wait in line to vote at a polling place at Venice Beach lifeguard headquarters in Los Angeles’ Venice district. Enthusiasm among blacks and Democrats for Barack Obama’s candidacy pushed voter turnout in this year’s elections to the highest level in 40 years. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)
From my point of view, ballot integrity, that is, ensuring that only eligible voters are allowed to vote in federal elections, is one of the major civil rights issues of our time. For reasons of political expediency, the Democrats have fought ballot integrity laws wherever they appear. Tonight they just lost one of those battles.
Back on August 1, 2016, a federal court issued an injunction forbidding North Dakota officials from enforcing that state’s voter ID law. Undeterred, the state legislature passed, and Governor Doug Burgum signed into law, HB 1369, which reestablished the state’s voter ID requirement. This replacement law allowed for the use of alternative means of identification, such as utility bills. The sticking point in the law is that the ID must show a street address. This is critical in ensuring that voters only vote in the district where they are eligible. A claim was made that this disenfranchised American Indian voters who used post office boxes or rural route addresses.
On April 3, 2018, the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota agreed with the people opposing the voter ID law. The state appealed this decision to the Eighth Circuit and on September 24, 2018, the Eighth Circuit granted the state’s request for a stay of the district court’s decision. The plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court. And today they got their answer.
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) October 9, 2018
And right on schedule:
Mother Jones reports that a decision from the Supreme Court to uphold a lower court ruling on voting in North Dakota will likely make it harder for tribal North Dakotans to cast a ballot. The order, MoJo says, could hurt Heidi Heitkamp's reelection. https://t.co/sf253axxvs
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 9, 2018
Outrageous/Unjust. R’s in North Dakota make it harder for Native Americans to vote. Requiring street address when many of them use P.O. Boxes in rural areas. Supreme Court allows. Law passed after Heitkamp won last time. Nothing more than voter suppression https://t.co/Nu1yWOsaPi
— Eric Holder (@EricHolder) October 9, 2018
The positive turn of events here is that the voter ID issue is becoming settled, at least at the circuit court and Supreme Court level. Rogue district court judges still rule in lockstep with the Democrats but those decisions are being routinely overturned on appeal. The fact that this case couldn’t get the votes for a hearing is significant.