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Port: ND Democratic lawmaker says raising voter fraud penalty is 'mean spirited' and 'voter intimidation'

Fargo Rep. Mary Schneider, a Democrat, speaks against voter ID legislation on the floor of the North Dakota House of Representatives on February 2, 2017.

After a federal court stuck down North Dakota’s voter ID law last year the state was forced to go back to an old system of letting people without valid ID’s cast their ballots using affidavits attesting to their identity. Today lawmakers took up HB1369 (see it below) which seeks to implement a more secure sort of ID requirement for voting while staying in line with what the federal courts have asked for.

Rep. Scott Louser (R-Minot) was the bill carrier and pointed out that the legislation still allows people to vote without proper ID, only their ballots aren’t counted until they can prove their identity with valid ID. Their ballots are set aside. Those casting them have until ballots are canvassed to get their ID’s to the proper officials. Among other changes, the legislation also raises the penalty for intentional voter fraud to a Class C Felony.

He also pointed out during his comments that affidavits used to cast ballots in the 2016 election were still being verified by the state’s counties which may never finish the process.

That seems like a fairly obvious problem, but a Democratic lawmaker suggested that the Republican lawmakers behind the bill were just being mean.

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