FARGO – The North Dakota League of Women Voters may push to have North Dakota reinstate its voter registration laws in order to lessen restrictions on residents voting.
A group of about 20 League of Women Voters members gathered at the Sons of Norway Lodge here Friday to go over the history of voter registration laws in the state, and to discuss the possibility and rationale behind bringing them back.
Voter registration was abolished in the state in 1951, and North Dakota remains the only state in the country without it.
"It's very unpopular among some people in North Dakota, but other people feel that it's time," said Lois Altenburg, president of the North Dakota League of Women Voters.
State legislators Carolyn Nelson and Pamela Anderson were at the meeting and said there is limited support for reinstating voter registration in the Legislature.
"I got the feeling that there is not a groundswell of support for voter registration," said Anderson, D-Fargo.
Anderson said she supports voter registration because she sees the lack of a voter registration as an obstacle for some people to vote. She said a lot of people are told they can't vote on Election Day because of a change of address or because they are students who haven't changed their address. She was also critical of the Secretary of State's Office.
"They are more concerned about making sure people don't vote, than voter fraud," said Nelson, D-Fargo.
Altenburg touted the success of voter registration in Minnesota, and pointed to the higher voter turnout there.
"I think they've got a great system," she said. Minnesota allows for same-day registration and for more forms of proof of residence to be used by voters on Election Day than North Dakota, she said.
Altenburg said she wants the group to study national regulations on voter registration laws and lobby for a new law in the next legislative session.