Know Your Rights: Voting in North Dakota

Some things go better if you’re prepared. Get ready to vote and make your voice heard!

The fight for voting rights remains as critical as ever. Politicians across the country continue to engage in voter suppression, efforts that include additional obstacles to registration, cutbacks on early voting, and strict voter identification requirements. Through litigation and advocacy, the ACLU is fighting back against attempts to curtail an essential right to our democracy: the right to vote.

Quick facts

  • Absentee voting begins on Sept. 29, 2022
  • Election Day is Nov. 8, 2022

Here are a few ways you can be prepared to get your vote in easily, get your vote counted, and make sure your voice is heard in North Dakota:

  • Locate your polling place and note the hours of operation. 
  • Find out who and/or what is on your ballot before you go to the polls. 
  • Consider voting early or absentee if possible. If you plan to vote at the polls, go early in the day to avoid the last-minute rush.
  • Make sure your ID is valid and up to date. (More information under the Voter ID section)
  • If anyone challenges you about voting, don't get mad - get help or call our voting information hotline at 866-687-8683
  • Remember you are allowed to bring in a translator or any form of assistance that you require. 

More information

If you have problems voting or have additional questions, please call the national, non-partisan Election Protection hotline:

  • English: 1-866-687-8683
  • Spanish: 1-888-839-8682
  • Arabic: 1-844-925-5287
  • Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, or Vietnamese: 1-888-274-8683

Please note, this page is a resource, not legal advice. It is provided for informational purposes only. North Dakota may revise its laws after this page is printed or published online. If you believe your rights have been violated or for more information on your rights as a voter, contact us at aclusd.org or email northdakota@aclu.org.​​​​​​

General voting information

A.General voting information

A.

Basic requirements: You must be a citizen of the United States, a resident of North Dakota, have lived in a precinct for the 30 days before an election, and be 18 years of age or older. There is no voter registration, only proof of identification is required (see Voter ID laws).

Voting if you’re attending college: Students can vote in person in their hometown, in their college town (by updating their identification to reflect the residential address in the college town), or by absentee/mail for either home or college town.

Voting if unexpectedly hospitalized: When patients are unexpectedly hospitalized, they likely did not make arrangements to vote by regular absentee ballot. Emergency Absentee Ballots are used when a registered voter realizes that they will be unable to make it to the polls, but it is too late to apply for regular absentee ballots. 

Voting if you’re serving in the military or living overseas: Absentee/mail voting for military and overseas voters may be completed by either electronic or paper options.

Voting if you’re experiencing homelessness: You don’t need a home to vote, but you do have to identify a place of residence. This may be a last known residence listed on your ID or temporary address such as a shelter. The address of which would need to be on your ID or by providing supplemental verification with an old ID.

Moving and name changes: You must be a resident of your voting precinct for at least 30 days prior to the election.

  • If you moved less than 30 days before the election, you won’t be able to vote at that precinct (but should be able to vote in your previous precinct in person or by mail).
  • If you moved at least 30 days before the election and have updated your address on your ID you can vote in the election in the precinct of your new residence.
  • North Dakotans are able to update their address information via the Department of Transportation’s website, dot.nd.gov. You don’t necessarily need to get a new ID to vote, updating your information with the DOT is sufficient.
  • Updating your ID ahead of Election Day is preferred, however if you are unable to do so, another document displaying a residential address may be provided to the election official, such as:
    • A current utility bill
    • A current bank statement
    • A check issued by a federal, state, local, or tribal government
    • A paycheck
    • A document issued by a federal, state, local, or tribal government

Voting on Election Day

A.Voting on Election Day

A.

Election Day: Hours of polling places in North Dakota vary by county. Find schedules online.

Finding your polling location: Hours in North Dakota may vary by county, most polling locations are open between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Find your location’s schedule at vote.nd.gov.

If you are running late: You have the right to vote if you’re in line or inside your polling place when the polls close. Once handed a ballot after the polls close you only have 30 minutes to cast your vote.

Getting time off: If your work schedule would make it practically impossible for you to vote in-person while the polls are open, your employer is encouraged by state law to give you time off to vote, however time off may be without pay. Ask your employer for time off before Election Day and confirm the hours you get off.

Voting early, absentee, or by mail

A.Voting early, absentee, or by mail

A.

Can I vote before Election Day? Yes, any person eligible to vote can do so, on or before Election Day by absentee or mail ballot or by casting a ballot in person at an early voting center.

How do I get an absentee/mail ballot? Any qualified voter is eligible vote absentee/by mail without excuse. Applications for absentee/mail ballots may be submitted anytime within the calendar year of an election.

  • Get an application for an absentee ballot at vote.nd.gov
  • Applications will be returned for correction if application data does not match the information in the state’s central voter file.
  • Ballots must be postmarked the day prior to the election or returned to a secure ballot box by 7 p.m. on Election Day.
  • Signature on returned ballot envelop must match application signature or the voter will be contacted for verification.
  • Absentee/mail ballot status may be tracked at vote.nd.gov

Early voting locations

A.Early voting locations

A.

Not all counties allow early voting: Find out where and when you can vote early.

When you arrive make sure to have your state issued ID or other acceptable identification.

Voter ID laws

A.Voter ID laws

A.

All voters who appear at polling places must show proof of identification with a residential address (P.O. Boxes will not be accepted).

Acceptable forms of ID include:

  • North Dakota driver’s license or non-driver ID
  • A North Dakota long-term care ID certificate
  • Tribal ID (including those issued by BIA for a tribe located in North Dakota, any other tribal agency or entity, or any other document that sets forth the tribal member’s name, date of birth, and current North Dakota residential address)

Voter affidavits are OUT. “Set-aside” ballots are IN.

  • If you forget your ID or supplemental documents, you can vote using a “set-aside” ballot. If you vote this way, you have to return to the polling place by the day of the election or go to your County Auditor office before the meeting of the County Canvassing Board thirteen days after the election, with appropriate proof that you are qualified to vote at that location.

Common questions

A.Common questions

A.

What if I make a mistake on the ballot? 

  • It happens. You can request a new ballot from the poll worker.

What if someone tries to intimidate or harrass me? 

  • Tell a poll worker. If a poll worker is the problem, tell a poll watcher, call your county auditor. 

If I don’t have an ID for voting, where do I get one?  

  • ND Department of Transportation (DOT) driver’s license – Licensing Sites.
  • DOT Nondriver’s ID cards – Provided at no cost.
  • Tribal government issued identification (including those issued by BIA for a tribe located in North Dakota, any other tribal agency or entity, or any other document that sets forth the tribal member’s name, date of birth, and current North Dakota residential address).
  • Long term care identification certificate (provided by North Dakota facility).

What if my ID doesn’t have my current residential address?

  • Most ND driver’s licenses and nondriver ID cards can be updated at no cost by calling the DOT at 701-328-4353 or online. The card itself does not need to be replaced, notifying DOT is enough.
  • Tribal IDs are updated with your tribal office. In this case the ID must be replaced.
  • Please note, this brochure is a resource, not legal advice. It is provided for informational purposes only. North Dakota may revise its laws after this card is printed or published online.
  • If you believe your rights have been violated or for more information on your rights as a voter, contact us at aclund.org or email northdakota@aclu.org.

Get involved

A.Get involved

A.

Become a precinct worker. Precinct workers are key players in running polling places on Election Day. This paid position is recruited by your County Auditor. Find out more by contacting your County Auditor.

Become a poll watcher. Contact the ACLU of North Dakota by emailing northdakota@aclu.org for more information.