Port: ND Supreme Court bars Democratic candidate from the ballot for not complying with residency requirements

Both Martin and the Democrats could have saved everyone a lot of time if they had simply acknowledged their error and resigned the race.

Travisia Martin.jpg
Travisia Martin of Bismarck is running for North Dakota insurance commissioner. Submitted photo
We are part of The Trust Project.

MINOT, N.D. -- After oral arguments, and a lower court finding of fact that the candidate did not meet North Dakota's five-year residency requirement for statewide office, the state Supreme Court has barred Democratic-NPL Insurance Commissioner candidate Travisia Martin from the ballot.

Article V, Section 4 of the North Dakota Constitution states that to be eligible for executive branch elected office, "a person must be a qualified elector of this state, must be at least twenty-five years of age on the day of the election, and must have been a resident of this state for the five years preceding election office."

In May , I wrote in a column that Martin had, per that state's records, voted in Nevada during the 2016 election. Voting legally in Nevada requires one to be a resident of that state, meaning Martin couldn't also have been a resident of North Dakota then.

Instead of acknowledging the mistake, and resigning the race gracefully, Martin and the North Dakota Democratic-NPL tried to fight the law.

Today, the Supreme Court rejected their arguments, finding that North Dakota's residency requirements for statewide office do not violate Martin's 14th Amendment rights and that Martin, specifically, does not satisfy the state's residency requirements.


"Martin is not eligible to hold the office of insurance commissioner, and it would be erroneous to place her name on the ballot. We therefore enjoin (N.D. Secretary of State Al) Jaeger from placing Martin’s name on the general election ballot," the court wrote in a unanimous decision.

It's been a very bad week for North Dakota's liberals.

On Tuesday, this same court tossed Measure 3 off the ballot for failing to follow the laws detailing the initiated measure process. While that proposal was advertised, deceptively, as bipartisan, many prominent left-wing activists were invested heavily in its success.

Now, adding insult to injury, the Democrats see one of their statewide candidates dismissed from the ballot for failing to follow residency requirements.

Again, both Martin and the Democrats could have saved everyone a lot of time if they had simply acknowledged their error and resigned the race. I don't think there was any ill-intent here; Martin simply made a mistake.

Instead they chose to pretend as though the laws don't apply to them, forcing the NDGOP to challenge Martin's eligibility. Successfully, as we know now.


To comment on this article, visit

Rob Port, founder of, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at .

Related Topics: ELECTION 2020
Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
What to read next
As incredible as it sounds, there effectively is no penalty in North Dakota for suspects who run away from police. That has to change.
Republicans apparently think everybody hates public education as much as they do, which is far from the truth in Minnesota
Downtown Fargo has to offer more than bricks, asphalt and concrete. The city should be creative and strategic about providing green spaces downtown.