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Federal judge allows amended voter ID complaint against new ND law

BISMARCK—A federal judge has allowed several members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa to amend their complaint challenging North Dakota's newest voter identification law.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Miller granted the plaintiffs' motion to file an amended complaint Friday, Dec. 22. Initially included in their motion earlier this month, the new complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in North Dakota Wednesday, Dec. 27.

The complaint argues that House Bill 1369, passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Doug Burgum in April, "preserved strict voter ID requirements that restricted access to voting and excluded a 'fail-safe' mechanism."

Last year, another federal judge granted a preliminary injunction preventing the state from implementing its voter ID law without some kind of "fail-safe" option, prompting the changes passed during this year's legislative session. Voters who didn't bring a valid ID to the polls in November 2016 were allowed to use affidavits to swear they were a qualified elector.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger, the state's chief elections official and the sole defendant listed in the lawsuit, has until Jan. 31 to respond to the amended complaint.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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