But in September, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit lifted the injunction, and the Supreme Court declined to reinstate it.
What do supporters of the requirement say?
State officials say the requirement is needed to prevent voter fraud, especially because North Dakota does not require voter registration (instead, voters may simply bring ID to the polls on Election Day). And they maintain that no eligible voter will be disenfranchised.
In a letter to tribal leaders, the secretary of state’s office wrote that any voter without a residential address could contact their county’s 911 coordinator, describe the location of their home and, quickly and at no cost, be assigned an address that the coordinator could confirm in an official letter. The voter could then either use that letter to obtain new identification or present it at the polls alongside an ID card that would not have been sufficient on its own.
Still, the number of people affected, and the fact that the election is so soon, creates an enormous logistical challenge.
How are Native Americans responding?
Advocacy groups have been meeting with tribal leaders on all of North Dakota’s far-flung reservations, trying to figure out how to help voters get the addresses and identification they need through the process the state described. It’s a tall order.
One of the groups, Four Directions, came up with its own plan. In a letter to Secretary of State Al Jaeger, it suggested that tribal officials would be stationed at every voting location on the state’s reservations, ready to issue identification letters on tribal letterhead. They would use an established addressing system for rural areas to assign residential addresses on the spot.
Oliver and Barbara Semans, co-executive directors of Four Directions, wrote that they believed Mr. Jaeger had “no authority to prevent tribal governments from implementing this plan,” because “tribal governments have the inherent sovereignty to issue residential addresses to any tribal member who may lack such an address.” But they urged him to “publicly support” it.
Mr. Jaeger declined. “It is inappropriate for me to do so because it is a legal question that is beyond the authority of this office as to whether a sovereign tribe has those powers within their jurisdiction,” he wrote in a response that his office provided to The New York Times on Thursday.