Fairfield questions 22-year incumbent Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s “judgment and competence”

Fairfield questions 22-year incumbent Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s “judgment and competence”

Secretary of State candidate April Fairfield says implementation of new Voter ID law shows lack of leadership, independence, and consistency in 22-year incumbent Al Jaeger’s management of Secretary of State’s office.

(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: JULY 8, 2014 – BISMARCK, ND) –North Dakota Secretary of State candidate April Fairfield said today that Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s response to last week’s letters from the ACLU and Fargo-based nonprofit Freedom Resource Center for Independent Living in unacceptable, but inevitable based on the Secretary of State’s inconsistent application of the new Voter ID Law.

Saying its time to bring independence and non-partisanship back to the Secretary of State’s office, Fairfield announced her proposal to allow additional forms of identification at polling locations across the state.

April FairfieldUnder Fairfield’s plan, she would allow the following additional forms of identification to be accepted in elections:

1.) Military and Veteran ID’s
2.) Conceal and Carry Permits
3.) Game and Fish Licenses
4.) Passports if used in conjunction with proof of residency like a utility bill

Fairfield argues that the current Voter ID law expressly gives the Secretary of State the ability to prescribe alternative forms of identification.

“Al Jaeger may have forgotten, but he has done this twice before with the Student ID and the Long-Term Care Certificate,” Fairfield said. “Under Section 5 of the law, the Secretary of State is given this authority and according to legislative intent, it was to used for precisely the type of situation the Freedom Resource Center and ACLU highlighted.”

According to testimony on the Voter ID bills, Fairfield says the language was put in there, “To be a placeholder so we wouldn’t allow for eligible voters to fall through the cracks.”

Unfortunately, voters did fall through the cracks.

“Secretary Jaeger’s reluctance to expand the number of acceptable IDs used shows that he is not an independent Secretary of State. As the Chief Election Officer of the state, his job should be to make sure that every eligible North Dakotan votes. North Dakota needs an independent voice in the Secretary of State’s office whose only agenda is to make voting fair, accessible and open to all eligible.”

“Jaeger’s judgment and competence must be questioned because he seems to make up the rules as he goes along. By arbitrarily establishing the long term care certificates and the student certificates, and now claiming his hands are tied in expanding the number of allowable IDs, he is inconsistent at best, incompetent at worst.”

Under the old law, voters could have signed an affidavit attesting to their residency status.

“That is what Secretary Jaeger and the Legislature wanted to get rid of. The reason is simple. It had nothing to do with the integrity of the process. It was because Rick Berg lost the U.S. Senate race. There were over 10,500 affidavits signed during the last general election. Rick Berg lost by 3,000 votes,” said Fairfield.

“Many of Senator Heitkamp’s supporters were students and Native Americans. These are the voters who were more likely to use the affidavit. What I propose, and what Secretary Jaeger could implement right now under the current law, is to allow a limited number of additional acceptable IDs.”

“With these voter protections in place, we can protect against the voter fraud boogeymen Al Jaeger fears and make sure those who are eligible and want to vote can vote. That is the way things use to be done and should be done again.”

Fairfield is seeking the office of Secretary of State. Originally from Eldridge, Fairfield represented District 29 as a State Senator from 2002-2006 and in the House of Representatives from 1996-2002. Fairfield is currently the Executive Director of a non-profit association and a Bush Leadership Fellow.

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From: Dem-NPL News

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