Friday, January 21, 2022


Despite a failed attempt in the U.S. Senate, more than 200 business owners call for federal reforms to strengthen election laws, and the U.S. Supreme Court deals another blow to abortion providers.


President Biden gets cheers and jeers as he marks his first year in the White House, the Jan. 6 committee wants to hear from Ivanka Trump, and the Supreme Court rejects another challenge to the Texas abortion law.


Expanded broadband akin to electrification in rural America 80 years ago; small Wyoming grocery store survives monopolization; revitalized Kansas town gets national recognition; and Montana's Native communities look for voter suppression work-arounds.

Voter ID Plans Take Center Stage in Election Policy Debates


Monday, August 9, 2021   

BISMARCK, N.D. - Efforts to enact voting restrictions continue, months after the 2020 presidential election. Voter ID requirements are being floated in some cases, prompting a nonpartisan group in North Dakota to issue a cautionary tale.

One of North Dakota's two U.S. Senators recently stated he wants to require states that would mandate proof of vaccination to also adopt voter ID laws. At the state level, Nebraska's Legislature is debating a plan that calls for ID requirements for casting a ballot.

Supporters say it's a way to prevent fraud. But Rick Gion, communications and policy director of North Dakota Voters First, said a heavy-handed approach ends up causing more problems - and points to the state's own statute.

"It's still fairly strict, but it's not as strict as it used to be," said Gion. "I mean, it was very targeted and blatant."

He referred there to the hardships the North Dakota law placed on Native Americans, resulting in court settlements. The state now has to pay more than $450,000 to cover legal costs incurred by tribal nations that sued.

Gion said policymakers should focus on more pressing issues tied to elections, such as eliminating gerrymandering in redistricting.

Gion said it's reasonable to have an identification policy for someone to take part in the democratic process. But he argued some states have gone too far.

"It's just the level of what that identification is," said Gion. "How it inconveniences people, how it makes it harder to vote."

More than 35 states have some form of voter ID law. Backers of the stricter policies say in addition to preventing fraud, they help restore confidence in the election system.

But opponents contend tighter restrictions are a solution in search of a problem, and that they create extra costs and burdens for election administrators.

Disclosure: North Dakota Voters First contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Civil Rights. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
The Brandon Road Lock and Dam Project would use electric barriers, bubble screens and noisemakers, all to help prevent the spread of invasive carp into the Great Lakes. (Rock Island District)


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to use federal funds for a project to help keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. It is proposing using …

Social Issues

Healthcare workers at an Oregon hospital have achieved what they say is a "win" after several strikes in recent months. Nearly 300 workers and …


As Pennsylvania continues to grow its solar-energy capacity, a new report found the roofs of big-box stores present a big opportunity to increase …

Over the course of the pandemic, North Dakota has received more than $350 million in federal aid to help struggling renters, but says it has sent back roughly 40% of that money unspent. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

North Dakota has returned a significant portion of the rental assistance provided by the federal government in the pandemic, but groups working …

Social Issues

Nearly 1,200 Hoosiers are about to have some of their student-loan debt forgiven, as part of a multistate settlement with the student-loan-servicing …

The organizations that are part of the National League of Cities grant say they hope to engage with 200 to 300 young people in Bridgeport during the 18-month initiative. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Bridgeport is one of six U.S. cities selected for an 18-month project kicking off this month, to create more education and career opportunities for …

Social Issues

By Frank Hopper for Yes! Media.Broadcast version by Eric Tegethoff for Washington News Service reporting for the YES! Media/Public News Service …

Social Issues

During Wednesday's State of the State address, Gov. Mike Parson discussed his priorities for Missouri in the next year, including the supplemental …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021