For the fourth consecutive election cycle North Dakota has ranked as the top state in the nation for election administration, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts Election Performance Index. The Pew report, which is considered the gold standard of election assessment, comes at a time when a federal judge issued a flawed ruling that would re-impose a discredited and clumsy affidavit system on state's voting system. The judge's injunction was granted at the request of a group of Native voters, who claim without credible evidence that basic requirements for voter IDs either disenfranchise certain voters or suppress the vote from certain classes of voters.
The Pew report ranks North Dakota No. 1 among the states on several categories, including election data completeness, rate of rejected ballots, unreturned mail ballots, voter information, ease of absentee ballot voting, and voter information tools.
In other words, North Dakota remains the most voter-friendly state in the union, said Pew. In addition to the measurements in the index, other data regarding voter fraud confirms purposeful fraud in nearly nonexistent in the state. The Secretary of State, working closely with local election officials, has over time established a responsive and squeaky-clean voting system.
Regarding the injunction that would require a return to affidavits as means of proof of voter residency: State election officials said they would comply by tweaking the old affidavit requirement, so that, among other things, affidavit votes would not be tossed into the vote count until the validity of the affidavit was shown.
And regarding the alleged suppression of the American Indian vote because of the ID requirement: In the 2012 U.S. Senate election between Heidi Heitkamp and U.S. Rep. Rick Berg, several analyses suggest she won a narrow victory because of the turnout in Native counties. It's hard to make a case for voter disenfranchisement in light of that result.
The Pew index is consistent, thorough and apolitical. It looks at access, outcomes and voter information, the very factors that make North Dakota No. 1 in the conduct of elections.
Editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper's Editorial Board