Voting in North Dakota

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General Information
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This page has information relating to voting in North Dakota. For full information contact your state election agency.


North Dakota uses an open primary system, meaning voters are not required to declare a party preference.

North Dakota is the only state without voter registration. It was abolished in 1951. 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]

Voting on election day

Electors must present identification before voting. Acceptable forms of identification must include the voter's address. If a valid form of identification cannot be produced, voters can still vote if either an election poll worker can vouch for their identity and residence; or if they complete a voter's affidavit.[2]

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 no later than 9:00 p.m.[3]

Proposed Changes

The 2013 North Dakota State Legislature passed a new voter identification bill. The bill eliminates the option of the voter affidavit process and requires presentation of voter identification at the polls. The law will become effective on August 1, 2013.[4][5]

Bill Introduced House Vote Senate Vote House Vote Gubernatorial Action
HB 1332 Jan. 17, 2013 in North Dakota House of Representatives Approveda on Feb. 26, 2013, 72 to 21 Approveda on April 3, 2013, 30 to 16 Approveda w/amendments April 12, 2013 68 to 24 Approveda on April 19, 2013

Absentee voting


All voters are eligible to vote absentee in North Dakota. There are no special eligibility requirements for voting absentee.[6]


There is no specific deadline for applying for an absentee ballot. The voted ballot must be postmarked at least one day before the election.[6]

Military and overseas voting

For full details, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program here.

Early voting

North Dakota is one of 34 states that has early voting with no specific requirements as to who can vote early. Early voting begins 15 days before an election and ends on the day prior to election day.[7] The average number of days prior to an election that voters can cast an early ballot is 21 days in states with a definitive starting date.

See also

External links