Media Contact

Janna Farley,

February 12, 2021

Legislators should want to make voting easier for their constituents, not harder.

But that’s exactly what some North Dakota lawmakers are doing with House Bill 1289.

The ACLU of North Dakota opposes House Bill 1289, legislation that would significantly extend the amount of time a person must reside in the state and their precinct before becoming eligible to vote. Doing so would disenfranchise many North Dakotans, including new residents, new military base employees, college students, Native Americans, and low-income people.

“Voting is a fundamental right of our democracy and North Dakota has long prided itself on its lack of voter registration – a fact that makes the state unique and eliminates unnecessary barriers to voting. But House Bill 1289 undermines the state’s low-regulation approach to voting without reason or need,” said Libby Skarin, ACLU of North Dakota campaigns director. “The decisions made at every level of government affect the lives of all of us. All North Dakotans deserve a say in their representation, regardless of whether they just moved to the state, move frequently because of their income level or are college students.”

House Bill 1289 comes on the heels of dozens of other election-related bills that would impose additional barriers on North Dakota voters, including House Bill 1312, which would eliminate the state’s policy of no-questions-asked absentee voting, and House Bill 1373, which would shrink the window for early voting by up to half of the current timeframe. Similar bills have been introduced across the country after rampant conspiracy theories and doubts about the results of the 2020 presidential election.

House Bill 1289 is scheduled to be heard in the House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee today. The ACLU of North Dakota provided written testimony in opposition (see below).

About the ACLU of North Dakota

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of North Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes South Dakota and Wyoming. The team in North Dakota is supported by staff in those states.

The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people.  In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit communities. The ACLU of North Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of North Dakota.