Gov. Jack Dalrymple today signed into law Senate Bill 2120, legislation pertaining to voting procedures for military and overseas residents who are qualified electors in the state. The bill strengthens North Dakota's current law by making it more uniform with other states and easier to understand for voters living abroad, ensuring their right to cast a ballot.
Dalrymple signed the legislation during a ceremony at the state Capitol and was joined by Bob Carey, director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program under the Department of Defense; Secretary of State Al Jaeger; Major General David Sprynczynatyk; members of the North Dakota Commission on Uniform State Laws; and legislators.
"When our brave men and women in uniform put their lives on hold and on the line to serve our state and nation in foreign lands, they deserve to have their voices heard and their votes counted," Dalrymple said. "They are defending the very freedoms that secure our right to vote. It makes sense that they, too, should have the same opportunity to exercise this fundamental American ideal."
Senate Bill 2120 makes North Dakota's military and overseas voting law uniform with other states, making it easier for voters living abroad to easily understand voting information and procedures. Although North Dakota's current law already allows for most of the requirements in the uniform law, the adoption of this legislation will implement common wording and broadened provisions to ensure the voting rights of our military and overseas residents are secured.
"With the passage of this bill, North Dakota continues to lead the nation in granting ballot access to our women and men serving in the military and for North Dakota civilians working overseas," Jaeger said. "As the state's chief election officer, I will continue to work closely with our county election officials to ensure the timely transmission of ballots to these voters."
North Dakota is one of the first states in the nation to adopt this uniform legislation. In the early 1990s, the state was also one of the first to grant electronic access to the ballot for military and overseas residents.
"By passing this legislation, we once again demonstrate how North Dakota is setting the bar high for other states to follow, especially when it comes to supporting our military members," Dalrymple said.