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North Dakota Senate OKs bill to ensure physical polling places

The bill removes the power of the governor to alter rules regarding polling places. The legislation next heads to Gov. Doug Burgum's desk for consideration.

Privacy dividers that read "vote" depict eagles and American flags. Voters stand at tables with the dividers and fill out ballots.
Voters cast their votes Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at St. Francis de Sales Church in Moorhead.
Abby Makay / The Forum

BISMARCK โ€” The North Dakota Senate on Friday, March 31, passed a bill to ensure physical polling places, similar to legislation that failed in 2021, brought in the wake of North Dakota's all-mail June 2020 election.

House Bill 1167 , by Rep. Steve Vetter, R-Grand Forks, passed in a 39-5 vote and now goes to Gov. Doug Burgum. The state House of Representatives in February passed the bill unanimously.

The bill states: "The governor may not issue an executive order that suspends or amends a provision in a statute, order, or rule relating to a state or local requirement regarding minimum number of physical polling places."

Burgum in 2020 signed an executive order waiving the requirement that counties provide at least one physical polling site for the June 2020 election due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The House and Senate in 2021 had passed the previous bill, but the Senate reconsidered it and it failed by a single vote.

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House Bill 1167 is among a flurry of election-related bills filed by supermajority North Dakota Republican lawmakers, continuing a trend from 2021. The Legislature that year handled more than 40 election-related bills in the wake of the 2020 presidential election and former President Donald Trump's baseless claims of election fraud.

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