North Dakota is that odd state out that doesn’t require voter registration. We operate on an honor system, with oversight from neighbors and other citizens in the area in which we live. It’s rare for someone to show up at the polls and have none of the election workers know who they are. It’s just the kind of place we live in.
But Rep. Randy Boehning, R-Fargo, wants the government to take over that job by issuing state identification cards for people who do not have drivers licenses -- if they want to vote. They would be free. Well, the taxpayers would have to pick up the tab, an estimated $250,000.
How big of a problem is voter fraud in North Dakota?
In the last 10 years, there’s been only one case prosecuted, according to Bismarck City Commissioner Josh Askvig, who spoke against House Bill 1332 as a part of his day job, working for AARP.
Talk about a solution looking for a problem.
Rep. Boehring does not make a compelling case for requiring a state-issued identification card for North Dakotans at the polls. It’s another case of government making government safe from the people.
Western North Dakota this past fall was a temporary home to a large number of workers in the oil fields. Literally thousands of out-of-state workers were on the job in the oil patch, and are still on the job. Yet there were no particular problems sorting out the votes during the November general election. No one called foul.
For decades, college and university students from in and out of state have negotiated voting in the precincts near North Dakota campuses. There have been a few hiccups over the years, but school administrators have a functional system in place.
Remarkably, HB 1332 passed the House on a 72-21 vote. Clearly Republican House members see a threat that no one has clearly stated. The bill has been heard in committee in the Senate, where a final floor vote will decide the issue.
The Senate should reject HB 1332. It’s unnecessary. And worse, adds to a government most people would like to shrink and spends taxpayer dollars without good reason.
Maybe someday voter fraud will be a problem in North Dakota. Maybe we’ll need ID cards, or, even worse, voter registration. That day has not come.