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Ginsburg Dissents From North Dakota Voter ID Rejection

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

A recent dissent issued from the High Court without a majority opinion at all. The case wasn't even argued. Rather, the dissent, written by Justice Ginsburg and joined by Justice Kagan, explained that the majority was flat out wrong to reject the North Dakota voter ID challenge.

In short, North Dakota passed a voter ID law that required voters to show a valid state ID with a street address at the polls. The federal district court, however, enjoined enforcement of that law in time for the primaries that occurred ahead of this upcoming midterm election. After the primaries though, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the injunction, allowing the voter ID law to take effect. The challengers sought immediate review by SCOTUS as the midterms are only a few weeks away.

Confusing Justice

Justice Ginsburg's dissent explains that one of bigger issues with the Eighth Circuit's overturning the district court's injunction is voter confusion. Basically, because effected voters may have been able to vote in the primary with their ID that did not meet the new law's requirements, some would be confused when they're rejected and told that that the same ID no longer qualifies when they get to the actual poll on election day.

Shockingly, Justice Ginsburg's dissent also notes that the number of voters without a qualifying ID is about 20%, or about 70,000 North Dakotans. Additionally, of those 70,000, nearly a quarter don't have the required supplemental paperwork that would be accepted at a polling place. (For reference, according to Siri, the state's population is around 750,000.)

Justice Ginsburg explained that without SCOTUS action, "the risk of disenfranchisement is large."

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