Cass officials changed course on citizenship verification on Election Day

FARGO (KVRR-KFGO) – After getting complaints from voters, campaigns, and advocacy groups, Cass County elections officials changed course on primary Election Day from requiring documentation for voters who were flagged as non-citizens when their IDs were checked, to simply allowing those voters to verbally attest to their citizenship.

The updated guidance came from States Attorney Birch Burdick around noon.

Cass County elections manager DeAnn Buckhouse acknowledged the confusion and says the North Dakota legislature may need to clarify the law.

“The statute is very clear when it comes to verifying date of birth, North Dakota residency, and have you been a resident of your precinct for 30 days. However, citizenship is still very gray,” she said. “It would not surprise me at all to see that be something that we really push for in the next legislative session.”

Voting rights advocacy groups say many New Americans were told to leave and come back with proof of citizenship before they could cast their vote. They say that guidance was inaccurate and could be viewed as voter suppression. Buckhouse says she’s open to working with those advocacy groups.

“Whichever direction this ends up going, any education that we can get help with when it comes to reaching those individuals who face those potential challenges, the easier it makes it for us as well,” she said.

Buckhouse said she hopes the get some clarity in the law but said her office is taking steps to better educate poll workers and combat misinformation in the meantime.

Categories: Local News, North Dakota News