Last year, a record number of restrictions to voting were introduced nationwide, including photo ID requirements, cuts to early voting and restrictions to voter registration with many of the states having histories of voter discrimination.
North Dakota currently has a voter affidavit process that allows a voter to cast a ballot without proof of eligibility by signing an affidavit. But the North Dakota legislature is looking to make it difficult for people to exercise their right to vote.
House Bill 1332 passed through the House and the Senate and now makes its way to the Governor's desk for consideration. Proponents are touting the bill as a way to end voter ID fraud in North Dakota.
Voter fraud?
In North Dakota?
We were skeptical. So we asked ourselves; just how many cases of voter fraud are investigated in North Dakota in an election year?
And here's what we found: there is no evidence of endemic voter fraud in North Dakota.
In the 2012 general election, 325,862 votes were cast. Of the 10,517 voter affidavits received, there were nine potential cases of voter fraud identified. That's 0.00276 percent of all votes cast in North Dakota.
Secretary of State Al Jaeger said it best, "In my 20 years as secretary of state, we've only had one or two or three cases of what we'd consider fraud."
So when our legislators say that the bill is about protecting voters from fraud, we know better. This bill is about suppressing voters' rights.