David Clemens, a Republican candidate for the North Dakota State Senate, wants to pass stricter voting laws because … get a load of this:
“We are becoming a more diverse community, and I think some of that may constitute and require a little stricter guidelines when it comes to voting,” Clemens said in a debate yesterday in West Fargo’s District 16.
North Dakota is becoming more diverse … therefore we should restrict voting. Sorry — what?
UPDATE: Clemens blamed “political correctness” for the backlash to his comments. “One of the question asked of the candidates at the League of Women’s Forum concerning voter fraud has been twisted into allegations of discrimination and racism,” he said in a statement Thursday.
North Dakota Republicans are a stubborn breed. They want to make voting harder to combat voter fraud, even though they’ve got no evidence it exists. It’s almost like they don’t want “diverse” people to vote.
Here’s Republican House candidate Andrew Marschall, who also participated in the debate: “We just have to make sure that we have the right things in place to go ahead and verify that no voter fraud is going on,” he said. “Not that there is; I haven’t seen it, and the system works, but we just have to make sure that it continues to work.”
Mean Read has followed North Dakota’s voting rules closely of late. This summer, a federal judge blocked the state’s restrictive 2013 voter ID law because he said it disenfranchised some Native Americans.
And last month, the same judge ordered the state to offer sworn affidavits as a voting option this Election Day, giving people without state-approved IDs the opportunity to vote.
Even so, the North Dakota University System has been telling students they could lose scholarship money if they vote using a sworn affidavit, a move that Bismarck attorney Tom Dickson calls “voter intimidation.”
We’ve reached out to Clemens for an explanation and ND GOP Executive Director Roz Leighton for comment.
We feel a little bad for Roz, because this is the second time in about a week that she’s having to deal with racism in her party. The last time was on Oct. 12, when Mean Read published screenshots from the private Facebook page of Republican House candidate Matt Ruby, which included an Obama-as-chimpanzee meme.
In that case, Roz said “the meme is inappropriate, offensive and inexcusable, there is no place for racism on anyone’s Facebook page, let alone one of our candidate’s.”
A little more about Clemens, from the West Fargo Pioneer: “Clemens has served as the chairman of the Republican Party in District 16, which includes portions of West Fargo and Fargo. He was nominated over Justin Vega, who also sought the Senate nod.”
Clemens is running against incumbent Senator Tyler Axness, a Democrat.