Spirit Lake Nation welcomes decision in voter identification lawsuit

Spirit Lake Nation headquarters in Fort Totten, North Dakota. Photo by Spirit Lake Nation-Mni Wakan Oyate

Members and leaders of the Spirit Lake Nation are welcoming a federal judge's decision that struck down a new voter identification law in North Dakota.

Upwards of 50 percent of adults on the reservation lack identification, tribal member Erich Longie told WDAZ. But they will be able to rely on "fail-safe" methods at the polls, thanks to the decision that was issued on Monday.

"A lot of our members are going to be able to vote," council member Kenneth Baker told the station.

But the decision might not go far enough, WDAZ reported. The tribe is preparing to sue the state so that reservation voters can use utility bills and other documents at the polls, according to the state.

The ruling came in a lawsuit that was filed by members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. A federal judge agreed that new voter ID requirements discriminated against Native Americans.

Judge Daniel Hovland ordered the state to return to rules that were in place during the 2013 election. He said the "fail-safe" methods will ensure that tribal citizens can exercise their constitutional rights.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, Brakebill v. Jaeger.

Read More on the Story:
Spirit Lake Nation celebrates voter ID ruling (WDAZ 8/2)

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