North Dakota Rep. David Monson (R-Osnabrock) doesn’t like the idea of college students voting legally on Election Day.
“Why would any university student not have an ID and need to vote using an affidavit?” Monson writes us, referring to sworn affidavits, a legal way to vote. “They all have an ID they use for everything. If they are using an affidavit instead of an ID, why? Are they trying to commit fraud with their vote?”
There are a few reasons why a student (or anyone else) might not have a valid ID. They might not be able to afford it. They might have an old ID with a different address, and haven’t replaced it with a current one yet.
For those who don’t have the right ID, they can vote anyway by signing a sworn affidavit, which means they swear they are a qualified voter.
In 2013, the Republican-controlled legislature eliminated the affidavit option. But last month, a federal judge ordered its reinstatement. We should also note that student IDs aren’t considered valid IDs for voting.
Monson was responding to the North Dakota University System’s message to students that they could lose their scholarships if they vote using a sworn affidavit. Bismarck attorney Tom Dickson, who successfully sued the state over voter ID abuses, called NDUS’s move “beyond inappropriate.”
But a member of the State Board of Higher Education tells us there’s nothing to see here.
“I read it as the NDUS strongly encouraging students, especially anyone using the sworn affidavit, to check with their financial aid office, in the event they have a scholarship or financial aid package tied to the condition of being a resident in another state or country,” board member Greg Stemen writes us.
“It would seem to me this is not a threat to inhibit the use of sworn affidavit, as you are characterizing. It is recommending that all who use it are well-informed and not risking any benefits they are currently receiving due to being a non-resident of ND,” he says.
As for the state College Republicans, they don’t have any problem with it either.
“This isn’t sabotage by the system,” writes vice president Jamal Omar, “rather it is a precaution.”