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Stenehjem: Driver’s license ‘current’ for voting even if change of address not reflected on card

BISMARCK - A driver's license is a valid form of voter identification if the North Dakota Department of Transportation has accepted a change of address, even if it's not reflected on the license, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem found in an opini...

BISMARCK – A driver’s license is a valid form of voter identification if the North Dakota Department of Transportation has accepted a change of address, even if it’s not reflected on the license, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem found in an opinion issued Thursday.

Burleigh County State’s Attorney Richard Riha requested the opinion after the state Legislature passed a bill in April clarifying the acceptable forms of voter ID, including a “current” driver’s license.

Stenehjem opined that as long as a driver has updated his or her address with the DOT, the license is considered current for voting, “even if the licensee did not take the additional step of obtaining a substitute license card.”

State law requires drivers to update their address with the DOT within 10 days after moving, but they’re not automatically issued a new license or required to get one.

North Dakota is the only state without voter registration, though an interim legislative committee is studying the issue. Information on the DOT’s system is provided to a central voter file maintained by Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s office.

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Stenehjem also was asked whether a voter who has updated their address online with the DOT can vote in their new precinct if the driver’s license doesn’t reflect the new address.

He wrote that if the updated address is available to the local election officials, “then an unexpired driver’s license, together with the information available in the central voter file and a statement by the voter that he or she has resided in the new precinct for at least 30 days prior to the election, is sufficient to demonstrate residency in the new precinct in order to vote in an election,” he wrote.

To keep the central voter file more current, Jaeger said his office began receiving nightly updates  rather than weekly updates from the DOT earlier this year.

Jaeger said he was pleased with Stenehjem’s opinion.

“It backs up our position 100 percent,” he said.

The other acceptable forms of voter ID are a non-driver’s ID card issued by the DOT, an official tribal ID, a long-term care certificate prescribed by the secretary of state or a current military ID card or passport.

Related Topics: WAYNE STENEHJEM
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