As North Dakota's Republican-controlled government has in effect admitted, North Dakota Democrats were right about the need for a special session.

The governor rejected the Democrats' call earlier this year, but the state's deteriorating finances prompted him to change his mind. The special session begins next week.

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But North Dakota Democrats now have been proven right on a second key issue: the claim that North Dakota's new Voter ID law is too restrictive. The verdict on that question is in, having been rendered by federal courts in both Texas and Wisconsin and forcing both states to put new procedures in place before November.

News flash: North Dakota's Voter ID law is more restrictive and allows for fewer options than either the Texas or Wisconsin laws. That means it almost certainly violates federal law, and will unconstitutionally block voting among key groups of North Dakotans in November - unless it is changed.

Which lawmakers should do, taking advantage of the special session to give voters who lack an ID the chance to get a ballot by signing an affidavit. That's the outcome the federal judge in Wisconsin is mandating. It's the likely outcome in Texas, too.

And it should be the outcome in North Dakota as well. As federal courts - including conservative-dominated courts, such as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Texas case - are declaring, the critics are right on these laws, and the supporters are wrong: Strict Voter ID laws do, in fact, disproportionately hurt key voting blocs.

North Dakota should take note of these decisions and preemptively change its own law. It's both the right and the patriotic thing to do, given the courts' repeated findings that the strict laws violate Americans' right to vote.

Under North Dakota law, voters at the polls must produce either a driver's license, official non-driver ID, tribal ID or (in special circumstances) military ID or long-term care certificate.

That's it. There's no provision for signing an affidavit, which North Dakota voters who lacked ID were able to do before the Voter ID law.

Nor is there recognition of the difficulties poor people may face in securing ID, or of the fact that not all forms of tribal ID show the tribal member's address (another requirement), or of the almost complete absence in North Dakota of the problem that supposedly justified Voter ID laws in the first place: voter fraud.

Of course, the above is no surprise. The same conditions apply in both Texas and Wisconsin, even though both states give voters the choice of more IDs than North Dakota does.

But the courts made short work of those states' looser-than-North Dakota's requirements. "Although most voters in Wisconsin either possess qualifying ID or can easily obtain one, a safety net (such as an affidavit) is needed for those voters who cannot obtain qualifying ID with reasonable effort," the federal judge in Wisconsin declared.

As for voter fraud, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals pointed to fascinating testimony from Dr. Vernon Burton, who answered questions about Texas' earlier efforts to suppress voting:

"Q. What, in your opinion, was the stated rationale for the enactment of all-white primaries in Texas?

"A. The stated rationale was voter fraud.

"Q. What was the stated rationale, in your opinion, for the use of secret ballot provisions in Texas?

"A. The stated rationale was to prevent voter fraud.

"Q. And what was the stated rationale, in your opinion, for the use of the poll tax in Texas?

"A. The stated rationale by the state was to prevent voter fraud.

"Q. And how about the stated rationale for the use in Texas of re-registration requirements and voter purges?

"A. The stated rationale was voter fraud.

"Q. Dr. Burton, in your expert opinion, did these devices actually respond to sincere concerns or incidents - incidences of voter fraud?

"A. No."

In the absence an actual problem with voter fraud, it's clear why the courts are proving skeptical about lawmakers' justifying yet another practice with discriminatory effects in the name of voter fraud.

North Dakota's law hasn't been blocked by a federal court - yet. But it likely will be.

So, North Dakota lawmakers should do the right thing. They should respond to these decisions in other states by allowing for affidavits, thus securing for all eligible North Dakotans the right to vote.