Secretary of State Disenfranchises Students Through Poor Implementation of Voter ID Law

Secretary of State Disenfranchises Students Through Poor Implementation of Voter ID Law


(GRAND FORKS, ND – NOVEMBER 12) – University Democrats of North Dakota (UDND) condemns the North Dakota Secretary of State’s oppressive implementation of the new voter ID laws passed in 2013 and calls for Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem to review Secretary Jaeger’s administration of the 2014 election.

The 2013 voter ID laws were passed unquestionably as a response to thousands of North Dakota college and university students casting their ballots for Heidi Heitkamp for Senate. The law achieved its goal in turning student voters away from the polls, but Secretary Jaeger’s implementation of the law only worsened the situation. Secretary Jaeger inappropriately used ID issue dates as a determinant of residency, which turned several voters away from the polls. The Student Identification Certificate system refused to print correct certificates had students not updated their addresses 30 days prior to the election, creating a de facto system of voter registration.

These problems could have been dampened by even the slightest effort to educate voters by Secretary Jaeger; however, his lackadaisical advertising campaign failed to even explain how to obtain a Student Identification Certificate or that it had to be updated by October 5th, 2014 in order to vote. The Fargo Forum reports that Cass County Auditor Michael Montplaisir was “surprised to learn about the deadline, too.”¹ How are students supposed to prepare themselves to vote if the election administrators don’t understand the guidelines themselves?

University Democrats received reports of election clerks allowing students to vote in the wrong precinct because, as one election clerk stated, they were “turning too many people away.” Allowing students to vote in the wrong precinct resulted in government-sanctioned voter fraud, generating more fraud than the voter ID law aimed to prevent. Since 2000, there has been only one convicted case of voter fraud in North Dakota.²

UDND finds it unacceptable that Secretary Jaeger’s inconsistent and creative implementation of the voter ID law came at the expense of students’ voting rights.

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¹ Tu-Uyen Tran, “Some ND voters blocked by deadline to update voter ID,” The Fargo Forum.
² Corbin Carson, “Election Fraud in America”, News21.


12 November 2014

Media Contact:
Jed Hanson
Communications Director
(701) 367-0609

PDF: Press Release 2014-11-12a

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