(COMMON DREAMS) Julia Conley, October 11, 2018 — As the U.S. Supreme Court this week upheld a North Dakota voter ID requirement, it likely disenfranchised tens of thousands of the state’s residents—particularly Democratic-leaning Native American voters—and made clear that the highest court in the land will do little to protect Americans from the Republican Party’s rampant attacks on voting rights.
The court ruled in favor of the Eighth Circuit Court’s decision that allowed the state to require all voters to have a residential street address and an accepted form of ID which includes that address.
The requirement, introduced in 2017 by GOP Gov. Doug Burgum, blatantly disenfranchises indigenous voters, many of whom live on reservations and use P.O. boxes instead of street addresses.
“Access to voting should not be dependent on whether one lives in a city or on a reservation,” Jacqueline De León, an attorney with the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), which is representing several plaintiffs in the case, said in a statement. “The District Court in North Dakota has found this voter identification law to be discriminatory; nothing in the law has changed since that finding. North Dakota Native American voters will now have to vote under a system that unfairly burdens them more than other voters. We will continue to fight this discriminatory law.”
Justice Brett Kavanaugh did not participate in the ruling, but The Intercept‘s Mehdi Hasan pointed out that his ability to now rule on issues like voting rights as a judge on the highest court in the country, was part of what Kavanaugh’s opponents feared last week as they called for the Senate to reject his nomination.
This ruling was done without needing Kavanaugh. This is why the Supreme Court matters. It’s not a game. It’s not about procedures or respecting the rules. It’s about the very nature of American democracy. And, oh yeah, about racism too. https://t.co/djJD3cVjAz
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) October 10, 2018
Voters who didn’t meet the stipulation were permitted to vote in the primary elections earlier this year, but last month a federal district court sought to enforce the law for the general election. The Supreme Court ruled against NARF’s request to further delay implementation of the law.