A judge in North Dakota has rejected an attempt to block the implementation of a new voter ID law.


An emergency, last ditch motion filed by a tribe in North Dakota has been denied. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland ruled that stopping the voter ID provision passed by the state would be a confusing and concerning change ahead of the ‘fast approaching’ elections.

“The federal courts are unanimous in their judgment that it is highly important to preserve the status quo when elections are fast approaching,” Hovland wrote.

He added that the details provided by the Spirit Lake Tribe in the complaint provided “great cause for concern” and would require “a detailed response from the Secretary of State as this case proceeds,” but upheld that “a further injunction on the eve of the election will create as much confusion as it will alleviate, and is foreclosed by precedent which is hesitant to permit ‘eleventh-hour changes to election laws.’”

The voter ID law simply requires North Dakota voters to provide a state, or tribe issued ID with a residential address.

For years, the tribe has claimed that many of their members, roughly 35 percent, have only post office addresses, and therefore do not meet the requirement.

In some states, the US postal service offers a physical address where customers can receive packages, but apparently, that has not been explored in North Dakota.

Hovland previously ruled that the voter ID law had placed an undue burden on Native Americans, but his ruling was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Likewise, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed that decision to stay in place about a month before the election.

According to the motion filed Tuesday, tribe voters have claimed their absentee ballots were rejected and “the problem threatens hundreds if not thousands more on Election Day,” the plaintiffs wrote.

However, “Tribes have been working to secure proper IDs for members by printing new ones and holding events to raise awareness, like a free benefit concert last weekend including musician Dave Matthews and actor Mark Ruffalo.”

And, at least 2,000 people have been issued new IDs.

Many people speculate the ruling could have an impact on Heidi Heitkamp’s campaign for reelection.