MINOT, N.D. — In an opinion written by District Court Judge Thomas Schneider, North Dakota's courts have held that Travisia Martin, the candidate for Insurance Commissioner endorsed by the Democratic-NPL, has not been a resident of the state for the previous five years.
Back in May, I reported that Martin had voted in Nevada in November of 2016. Casting that ballot requires one to be a resident of Nevada, but North Dakota's constitution also requires five years of residency in this state to be eligible to hold statewide office.
What the courts found — based on evidence including Martin's vote in Nevada, the fact that she did not get a North Dakota driver's license until sometime in 2018, and that her vehicle remained in Nevada and registered there — is that she has not been a resident of North Dakota for five years before Election Day.
This is a significant blow to Martin's case for keeping herself on the ballot, but it's not necessarily the last word in the matter.
The dispute will now go back to the state Supreme Court, which held oral arguments between Martin and attorneys representing the North Dakota Republican Party, earlier this month.
One potential upshot from this situation, something that was hinted at during the oral arguments, is a full-on challenge to the legality of North Dakota's residency requirement. I'm not sure if Martin will pursue this matter that far.
As a practical matter of politics, it's hard to see how her already long-shot candidacy could be successful at this point. Her assertion that she is a resident, despite her vote in Nevada, and her insistence that she was merely confused about North Dakota's voting laws, is not flattering for her argument to be insurance commissioner.
Remember, the insurance industry is one of the most complicated and thoroughly regulated areas of American business. Do we want to put someone in charge of it here in North Dakota, who was bewildered by voting requirements?
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.