Judge refuses to block voter ID law for Native Americans in North Dakota 

A federal district court judge on Thursday refused to temporarily exempt Native Americans in North Dakota from a state law requiring residents to show a valid ID that lists a current residential street address when voting.

Chief Judge Daniel Hovland, of the U.S. District Court for North Dakota, cited Tuesday’s midterm election in his decision to reject the emergency request for temporary relief from the requirement to provide proof of a residential address.

Hovland, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, stated, "The federal courts are unanimous in their judgment that it is highly important to preserve the status quo when elections are fast approaching."

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Native Americans argue they are disenfranchised by the law because residents of reservations don't have standard addresses.  

The state is home to a key Senate race this year, with Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampLobbying World Pro-trade group targets Democratic leadership in push for new NAFTA On The Money: Stocks sink on Trump tariff threat | GOP caught off guard by new trade turmoil | Federal deficit grew 38 percent this fiscal year | Banks avoid taking position in Trump, Dem subpoena fight MORE (D) relying on support from Native Americans in her campaign against Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump pushes Mexico for 'significantly more' as tariffs loom The Hill's Morning Report — Trump pushes Mexico for 'significantly more' as tariffs loom Overnight Health Care: Liberals rip Democratic leaders for writing drug pricing bill in secret | Dems demand answers from company that shelters migrant kids | Measles cases top 1,000 MORE (R). Heitkamp was first elected in 2012 with strong support from Native Americans.

In April, the district court blocked the voter ID law from being enforced, but that order was stayed by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals on Sept. 24. 

In early October, the Supreme Court denied a request from the plaintiffs to toss out the 8th Circuit’s ruling.    

Hovland said Thursday that the allegations in the Native Americans' complaint do give the court great cause for concern.

“However,” he said, “a further injunction on the eve of this election will create as much confusion as it will alleviate, and is foreclosed by precedent which is hesitant to permit ‘eleventh-hour changes to election laws.'”