The nearly 90,000 North Dakotans who voted early this past election had 15 business days before election day to cast a ballot in person. Efforts to shorten that window to nine days failed Tuesday in the state Senate.
House Bill 1373 was one of roughly 40 election-related bills this session under consideration, often with the intention to prevent fraud and ensure election integrity. Those who opposed the bill said shortening the time frame to vote early limits access to the ballot box.
But those who supported it say it would have addressed a lack of staffing at some polling locations, prevented the process from becoming drawn out and allowed for a more informed electorate.
“There is also a question that when voters cast their votes weeks before the election, they do so without the same access to knowledge about the candidates and the issues as those who voted on Election Day,” Sen. Richard Marcellais said.
The bill failed 10-37. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, North Dakota is one of 43 states this year with proposals to limit early in-person voting or implement limitations for Election Day.