State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Category: North Dakota

The Demise of North Dakota’s Voter Identification Law

In one sense, North Dakota’s voting laws are lax as North Dakota is the only state without voter registration requirements.  In another sense, North Dakota’s voting laws are anything but lax as a federal district court recently found North Dakota’s voter identification law (also referred to as “HB 1332”) to be unduly burdensome.

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No Free Speech Within 100 Feet: North Dakota Supreme Court Upholds State Electioneering Law

What is wrong with advocating for or against the adoption of a new ballot measure outside of a polling station on Election Day? For one, it may be against the law.

In North Dakota, such a law found itself as the subject of litigation that went all the way to the North Dakota Supreme Court. The case, State v. Francis, involved a challenge to North Dakota Century Code § 16.1-10-06.2, an electioneering law that criminalizes gathering signatures within 100 feet of an open polling place on election day. In July 2016, the North Dakota Supreme Court upheld the law after applying established U.S. Supreme Court precedent in its own analysis of the North Dakota electioneering statute.

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Oil-lections: North Dakota Elections Are Corrupted But Nothing Needs To Change

By August Johannsen

North Dakota is perhaps best known for the Midwestern “charm” portrayed in the 1996 film, Fargo. However, even that movie took place almost entirely in Minnesota. In other words, North Dakota is about as nondescript a State as States come. But then North Dakota suddenly hit the national headlines when technological advances allowed for the extraction of oil from the state’s Bakken Shale Formation. This oil boom has drastically increased the state’s financial well-being, its oil output, and its population. By now, you may be asking, “What does this have to do with state election law?” The answer is, “A lot.” Continue reading

North Dakota’s new voters

by Thomas Joraanstad

In these difficult economic times, unemployment in the United States continues to hover around 9%. There is one place that has seemingly avoided the recession completely. In fact, this state is booming with jobs. The state is North Dakota. With new technology being developed in the oil and gas industry, oil reserves in the Bakken Formation once too difficult or expensive to tap are now being drilled at a furious rate. The unemployment rate in North Dakota is now around 3.5% as the state tries to keep pace with growth. Although North Dakota’s population grew only a modest 4.7% from 2000-2010 (compared with a nationwide average of 9.7%), the oil boom is a recent phenomenon, and the true population effects are still unknown.  In Williston, North Dakota, a town at the heart of the oil boom, the population grew 17.6% (to 14,716) during the same time period. Since the census, the population of Williston is now estimated to be around 20,000, a 60% increase since 2000. This population growth could have a major impact in the upcoming election in 2012.

With longtime incumbent Kent Conrad (D) set to retire, the seat will be open for the first time since 1987. When Conrad announced his retirement in January, most political commentators viewed this as a likely win for the Republicans. Although North Dakota has had at least one Democratic senator in office since 1982, North Dakotans are generally conservative, do not support President Obama (his approval rating is in the 30’s), and lean Republican. However, the influx of new citizens has given the Democrats hope in the upcoming elections. Continue reading

Mr. Colbert: or, How states might learn to love campaign finance reform

Its opponents deride its existence as a farce upon campaign finance law.  Its supporters suggest that it is the only way to set the system straight.  News of it has reached the public’s consciousness, rarified air for anything in the field of campaign finance. And we’re not even talking about Citizens United.

The Federal Election Commission’s recent decision permitting comedian Stephen Colbert to form his own Super PAC has successfully turned the media’s (and to a certain extent, the public’s) attention to the post-Citizens United world of political donations. Continue reading

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