Supreme Court Denies Native Americans’ Request to Strike Down Voter ID
The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a request from a group of Native American North Dakota residents who are challenging a new state law that requires voters to present identification that includes a current residential street address. Native American communities often lack residential street addresses because the postal service does not provide residential delivery in these rural Indian communities. As a result, tribal IDs use P.O. boxes, which are not sufficient under North Dakota’s new law. The residents argued the new rule disenfranchises a sizable and disproportionate share of the population because many are Native American voters. The District Court agreed and temporarily blocked the North Dakota Secretary of State from enforcing the new requirements during the primary elections, but the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked that court order last month. The challengers submitted an urgent request to SCOTUS Justice Neil Gorsuch asking him to toss out the 8th Circuit stay, arguing it has left thousands of Native American voters unable to cast ballots. But the court denied the request without explanation. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, however, filed a dissenting opinion, which Justice Elena Kagan joined. Justice Brett Kavanaugh did not take part in the decision. The Court’s order will likely make it harder for Senator Heidi Heitkamp, considered the most vulnerable Democrat in the Senate, to retain her seat in November. She won her seat by less than 3,000 votes in 2012 with a strong backing from Native Americans. She is the only statewide elected Democrat, and her “no vote” on Kavanaugh has arguably put her in political peril. Republicans have claimed the changes to voter ID requirements are intended to stop voter fraud, even though there is little evidence supporting in-person fraud. More here.