The U.S. Supreme Court will allow a North Dakota law requiring voters to produce government ID with a current residential street address when casting ballots to take effect.
The decision, which came Tuesday and drew a brief dissent, will affect one November’s most critical Senate races.
A group of American Indians challenged the residential street address requirement, arguing that it imposes “impossible and severe burdens on the franchise for Native American voters,” as many live on reservations or otherwise lack ordinary street addresses. A federal judge agreed and prohibited the law.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted that order, so the plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court, asking the justices to restore the injunction.
North Dakota argues that the law protects the integrity of the ballot box and improves the administration of elections — the state’s filing at the high court notes there were over 800 different ballots used in the state during the 2016 election cycle, which are assigned on the basis of address.
The Supreme Court’s Tuesday order allowed the law to take effect for the general election. As is typical of orders of this nature, neither the vote count nor the reasoning was disclosed. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a short dissent, which Justice Elena Kagan joined.
Ginsburg warned that the Court’s decision would create confusion in North Dakota since the original order restraining the residential street address requirement was in effect for the primary elections in June.