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Letter to the editor: New voter ID law targets some populations in N.D.

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A $700,000, “easy-as-pie” campaign by Republican Secretary of State Al Jaeger can’t change the fact that the new voter identification law passed by the Republican supermajority deliberately targets thousands of North Dakotans. It especially targets the elderly, the disabled, college students and Native Americans.

The fact that 10,000 voters had to use the fail-safe affidavit provision to protect their right to vote in the 2012 general election reflects Jaeger’s failure to properly educate voters. But the new law kills that fail-safe provision of signing an affidavit at the polls if there is a problem with a voter’s ID.

Now an elderly or disabled person living at home who does not have an ID that is issued by the North Dakota Department of Transportation is now restricted to voting by absentee. Don’t bother to take your elderly parents to the polls without an ID. They will be turned away as was the case in the recent Fargo special election. But there are more onerous hoops to jump through to vote by an absentee ballot.

A voter must now seek out an “attester” and make a copy of the attester’s ID. Then he or she will have to fill out an absentee ballot application, submit both to the auditor, wait for the ballot to be sent to him or her, properly sign documents and mail it in. And if he or she fails to check the appropriate box on the application he or she will have to jump the hoops for the primary and general elections.

This is outrageous and un-North Dakotan, but typical under one-party Republican rule.

(Valeu is chairman of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party and former North Dakota deputy secretary of state)

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