ACLU of North Dakota launches voting rights campaign

Nearly half of eligible Americans don't vote in presidential elections, according to the PEW Research Center

FARGO, N.D. — The message behind the ACLU of North Dakota’s newest campaign isn’t about who you’re voting for.

It’s simply about getting you to vote.

According to the Secretary of State’s website, only 61% of eligible voters in North Dakota cast their vote in the 2016 general election.

“In a world where truth is harder and harder to come by, we want to try to help be the arbiter of truth when it comes to how you can vote in North Dakota,” says ACLU of North Dakota advocacy director Dane DeKrey.

The campaign encourages voters to make a plan to vote, whether it’s by mail or in-person.

Most people we spoke to in downtown Fargo already have one.

“I plan on voting early at one of the sites,” says Ben Zurn of Fargo. “I don’t mind going in. The early voting, there’s usually not that many people there, so just wear a mask, go vote, and I’ll bring my own pen.”

Larry, who’s originally from Louisiana but is in North Dakota for a short while, says he’s wary of mail-in voting. He says, “Trump got the post office with the mail ballots and everything tied up.”

“I just prefer that I go in person, it just feels more concrete,” says Nancy Bunting of Buffalo.

Democratic and Republican officials have made it easier to vote by mail this year, based on a recommendation from the CDC.

DeKrey says, “We’ve been doing [mail-in voting] very well for a very long time, through pandemics, wars, and so I would say that it is very safe, it’s very secure and anyone or anybody who is trying to say otherwise is trying to just sow seeds of doubt.”

Those at the ACLU say things like locating your polling place, knowing your voter ID status, and where to get help if someone challenges your right to vote are essential to having your voice counted.

“This election, more so than previous elections, there seems to be a lot of fact and fiction, and our concern is that the fiction is going to drown out the fact,” adds DeKrey.

Although sympathetic with those willfully choosing not to vote, he compares saying you’re “not into politics” to saying you’re “not into life.”

“You choose to be in the system or out of the system, and I think when you’re out of the system, you’re just giving up before the game starts.”

For voting information and complete resources from the ACLU, click here.

Categories: Local News, North Dakota News, Politics / Elections