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ACLU Sets Up Hotline for Election Day Assistance, Violations

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The American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota's hotline will be up from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central time. (MargJohnsonVA/Twenty20)
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota's hotline will be up from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central time. (MargJohnsonVA/Twenty20)
 By Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ND - Producer, Contact
November 5, 2018

BISMARCK, N.D. – The American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota is opening up a hotline on Election Day to allow residents to call for voting assistance or to report potential violations of their rights.

The hotline will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central time.

Andrew Malone, an ACLU attorney who will be working the hotline, says people can call with any concerns they have, even if they are simply feeling intimidated by the voting process and need help with it.

While he says disruptions at the polling place are rare occurrences, Malone also is prepared to help with issues that could impede a person's right to vote.

"Some of the things that we find the most troubling that could occur are poll workers may deny voters access to provisional ballots,” he states. “There could be problems that occur with voting machines. And we're always concerned about any instances of voter harassment or intimidation."

Malone says the best case scenario is that voting goes so smoothly Tuesday that no one needs to call him.

The hotline number is 701-353-5594.

North Dakotans don't have to register to vote. They just need valid identification when they show up at the polls.

However, a recent court decision might make it harder for Native Americans in the state to vote.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case on a North Dakota law that requires residential addresses for an ID to be valid.

As many as 5,000 Native Americans have post office box addresses rather than residential addresses on their tribal IDs.

Malone says the Native American Rights Fund will be helping out with this on Election Day.

"They have very graciously agreed to allow us to forward any calls on that specific issue to them,” he relates. “The Native American Rights Fund – and other tribal organizations as well – they've just been doing a[n] absolutely tremendous job in making sure that this issue is being handled as effectively as possible."

The Native American Rights Fund is among the law groups that originally challenged the new voter ID law.

Four tribes in North Dakota have launched programs to provide free IDs with street addresses to tribal members in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.

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