Spirit Lake man speaks out about his denied ballot and lawsuit

A Spirit Lake man spoke exclusively with WDAY News after he was denied the ability to vote

Spirit Lake man speaks out about his denied ballot and lawsuit
We are part of The Trust Project.

DEVILS LAKE, ND--The Spirit Lake Tribe Member is one of a handful of people suing North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger.

It's the first time Dion Jackson voted.

"Turned in my ballot, and then maybe two, three days, I got it sent back to me," said Plaintiff, Dion Jackson.

His absentee ballot application was denied.


The man who lives on the Spirit Lake reservation says his address is invalid, even though it's the same one that's on his North Dakota ID card.

"They don't want us to be heard or to vote to get who we want in there," said Jackson.

Jackson is one of six tribe members hoping a judge will will step in to allow Native Americans with the same issues to vote next Tuesday.

"They already denied me once. So they probably won't have a problem denying me again."

The lawsuit claims a failed system by the state of assigning physical addresses to people living on reservations is to blame.

Problems like the ones Jackson is facing are common across North Dakota reservations, according to the lawsuit.

"Whenever it's with UPS or Fedex they have no problem finding us with a physical address that's presented."

Two weeks ago the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Noth Dakota's voter ID law.


The law states voters have to show an ID with a physical address, otherwise, they'll be denied a ballot.

Native Americans are the ones most effected as people living on reservations often use P.O. boxes, rather than a street address.

In the last week, the tribe has issued more than 300 new IDs to tribe members.

But more than 250 people don't have street addresses assigned to their homes, the suit says.

"We're kind of a force to be reckoned with and they don't want to see us out there making changes throughout the community and throughout the world."

The suit asks the state's district court to stop Secretary of State Al Jaeger from enforcing North Dakota Century Code.

WDAY News spoke directly with Jaeger but he is refusing to comment on pending litigation.

Jackson worries hundreds of tribe members may not get the chance to do their civic duty.


"Not only within this reservation but any other reservation in Indian Country. We always get denied for something."

What to read next
A 46-year-old Cass Lake man has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the July 2021 shooting death of Diego Gasca.
“There’s nothing more depressing than to get home and have an RV that doesn’t work,” North Star RV Inspections owner Wade Johnson says.
The motorcycle was traveling eastbound on Highway 87 and struck a deer at milepost 13.
Follow this Fargo-Moorhead news and weather podcast on Apple, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.