North Dakota House votes to cut early voting period

North Dakota House votes to cut early voting period
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The North Dakota House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a measure cutting the state’s early-voting window from 15 days to nine days before Election Day.

“Although we want early voting, we don’t want to draw it out for too long of a time. The other issue is staffing all the locations for that period of time. This bill leaves lots of time to vote,” Rep. Steve Vetter (R) said, according to KVRR, a Fargo-area Fox affiliate. The measure passed the chamber 78-13.

The measure was one of about 40 election-related bills state lawmakers have considered or will consider this session, according to Prairie Public News. The chamber has already approved a bill that would bar local election officials from taking nonpublic funds to operate elections. It rejected another that would have banned electronic voting and required the secretary of State to publish scanned images of ballots.

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"As members of this body make efforts to work with North Dakota officials to stay ahead of the election integrity curve, in turn strengthening our position as the best state in the country in running elections, we must not allow potential risks to outweigh any perceived reward," Rep. Greg Stemen (R) said, noting the state’s status as one of the top-ranked states for election security.

Another bill rejected by the state legislature would allow local candidates the option to include party designations on the ballot. Rep. Mary Schneider (D) said the measure could discourage people from participating in local politics to avoid publicizing beliefs they consider private.

"Cities and counties have thrived without identifying party and politics," Schneider said. "Many viable residents will not run for local offices, choosing to keep their beliefs and party affiliations private."