Voting in North Dakota

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North Dakota permits no-excuse early voting and no-excuse absentee voting. The state does not permit online voter registration. Instead, new voters must prove that they are qualified electors. North Dakota is the only state in which there is no formal registration system. North Dakota voters are required to provide some form of identification at the polls.

For full information about voting in North Dakota, contact the state election agency.


North Dakota is the only state without a formal voter registration procedure. Instead, the following system is used.[1]

Precincts in North Dakota maintain a list of voters who have voted in previous elections. When a voter approaches a polling location they are asked to provide an acceptable form of identification. Then the election board will attempt to locate the voter’s name on the voting list. If the voter’s name is on the list, the voter’s name and address are verified and the voter is then allowed to vote.[1]

If the voter is not on the list, but an election worker knows the voter to be a qualified elector of the precinct the poll worker may vouch for the voter. The voter then has the right to vote.[1]

If the voter is not on the list and no poll worker is able to vouch for them, the voter may be challenged. As part of the challenge, the voter is asked to sign an affidavit swearing to the fact that he or she is a qualified elector of the precinct and therefore qualified to vote in the precinct. If the voter agrees to sign the affidavit, the voter must be allowed to vote. If the voter refuses to sign the affidavit, the voter is choosing not to vote.[1]

Falsely swearing to be a qualified elector is a class A misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of one-year imprisonment, a fine of $2,000, or both.[1][2]

—North Dakota Secretary of State

Voting on Election Day

Voter identification

See also: Voter identification laws by state

Voters must present identification before voting. Identification must include the voter's name, residential address and date of birth. More than one form of identification may be used if necessary. Valid forms of identification when voting at a polling place include a driver's license, state ID card, tribal ID card, student ID card from a North Dakota college or university or a long-term care facility ID card from a North Dakota care facility. If voting absentee or by mail, a U.S. passport, military ID or attester may also be used. If using an attester, the attester must provide one of the valid forms of identification already listed and sign the absentee or mail-in ballot to attest to the voter's North Dakota residency and eligibility to vote.[3][4][5]

On April 6, 2013, the North Dakota State Senate approved a voter identification bill that eliminated the voter affidavit process and required identification from voters. The bill (HB 1332) passed by a 30-16 vote.[6][7] On April 12, 2013, the North Dakota House of Representatives voted 68-24 to pass the bill, and on April 19, 2013, it was signed into law.[8][9]

Poll times

See also: State Poll Opening and Closing Times

Polling locations cannot open earlier than 7:00 a.m. and must be open by 9:00 a.m. with the exception of those precincts in which fewer than 75 votes were cast in the last general election. The governing body of the exempt polling locations may direct the polls to open no later than 12:00 noon. All polling locations must remain open until 7:00 p.m. and close by 9:00 p.m. at the latest.[10]

North Dakota is divided between Central and Mountain time zones.

Primary voting

North Dakota is one of 14 states that uses an open primary system, in which voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party's primary.[11][12][13]

Absentee voting

See also: Absentee voting


All voters are eligible to vote absentee in North Dakota. There are no special eligibility requirements for voting absentee.[14]


There is no specific deadline for applying for an absentee ballot. The completed ballot must be postmarked at least one day before the election.[14]

Military and overseas voting

For full details regarding military and overseas voting, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

Early voting

See also: Early voting

North Dakota is one of 33 states (plus the District of Columbia) that permit some form of early voting. Early voting begins 15 days before an election and ends on the day prior to Election Day.[15]

Election policy ballot measures

Voting on
elections and campaigns
Ballot measures
By state
By year
Not on ballot
See also: Elections and campaigns on the ballot and List of North Dakota ballot measures

Ballotpedia has tracked the following ballot measures relating to election and campaign policy in North Dakota.

  1. North Dakota Abolish Absent Ballot Initiative (1936)
  2. North Dakota Absent Voters Ballot Initiative (1932)
  3. North Dakota County Officers to be Elected Referendum, Amendment 1 (1952)
  4. North Dakota County Official Term Lengths, Initiative 2 (1962)
  5. North Dakota Election Law Revision Referendum, Measure 8 (1980)
  6. North Dakota Election of County Officers, Constitutional Measure 1 (2002)
  7. North Dakota Election of County Officials, Measure 2 (1998)
  8. North Dakota Elective Franchise Referendum, Amendment 2 (1978)
  9. North Dakota Electors Residence Requirements Referendum (1922)
  10. North Dakota Executive Branch Officer Election, Measure 2 (2000)
  11. North Dakota Federal Funds for Political Purposes Initiative (1936)
  12. North Dakota Filling of Judicial Vacancies, Measure 1 (1998)
  13. North Dakota Fiscal Impact Initiatives on General Election Ballot Amendment (2016)
  14. North Dakota Future Governor and Lieutenant Governor Elections Referendum, Measure 4 (1982)
  15. North Dakota Joint Governor and Lieutenant Ballot Referendum, Amendment 1 (1974)
  16. North Dakota Judicial Officers Referendum, Amendment 5 (1980)
  17. North Dakota Judicial Reform Referendum, Number 5 (1968)
  18. North Dakota Legislative Assembly Vacancy Filling, Measure 4 (2000)
  19. North Dakota Legislator Qualifications Referendum, Amendment 1 (1976)
  20. North Dakota New Residents Presidential Voting Referendum, Number 2 (1966)
  21. North Dakota Non-partisan Election Initiative (1921)
  22. North Dakota Nonpartisan Elections Referendum (1924)
  23. North Dakota Partisan Elections Initiative (1921)
  24. North Dakota Partisan Elections Initiative (1924)
  25. North Dakota Party Central Committees Referendum (1924)
  26. North Dakota Presidential Preference and June Primary Referendum, Measure 7 (1980)
  27. North Dakota Repeal Limits on Legislator Elections and Appointments, Referendum 2 (1964)
  28. North Dakota Repeal Limits on Legislator Elections and Appointments, Referendum 3 (1962)
  29. North Dakota Residence Requirements of Electors Referendum (1920)
  30. North Dakota Rules for Appointing Supreme Court Justices, Measure 2 (1990)
  31. North Dakota Secret Primary Ballot, Initiative 3 (1962)
  32. North Dakota State Legislative Term Limits and Ballot Instruction Measure, Measure 5 (1996)
  33. North Dakota State Treasurer Not Elected, Measure 3 (2000)
  34. North Dakota State and County Official Term Lengths, Initiative 5 (1964)
  35. North Dakota Tax Commissioner Election Initiative (1938)
  36. North Dakota Tax Commissioner on Party Ballot Referendum, Measure 2 (1986)
  37. North Dakota Voter Pamphlet, Referendum 1 (1964)

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "North Dakota voting."

Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.

Voting in North Dakota - Google News Feed

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See also

Elections in North Dakota

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 North Dakota Secretary of State, "North Dakota ... The Only State Without Voter Registration," accessed June 10, 2014
  2. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  3. North Dakota Secretary of State, "ID Required for Voting in North Dakota," accessed June 10, 2014
  4. The Bismarck Tribune, "Senate passes voter identification measure," April 3, 2013
  5. The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, "Voter ID bill passes Senate with changes," April 4, 2013
  6. The Bismarck Tribune, "Senate passes voter identification measure," April 3, 2013
  7. The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, "Voter ID bill passes Senate with changes," April 4, 2013
  8. The Bismarck Tribune, "North Dakota House passes voter ID bill," April 12, 2013
  9. Open States, "HB 1332," accessed March 13, 2014
  10. North Dakota Secretary of State, "Election Calendar 2014," accessed January 3, 2014
  11. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  12. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  13. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013, through January 3, 2014, researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
  14. 14.0 14.1 North Dakota Secretary of State, "North Dakota Residents Choosing to Vote Absentee or by Mail," accessed December 16, 2013
  15. North Dakota Century Code, "16.1-07-15," accessed December 16, 2013