A federal judge has ruled that North Dakota's Legislature violated the Voting Rights Act in how lawmakers reapportioned legislative districts comprising two tribal nations.
U.S. District Chief Judge Peter Welte issued his ruling on Friday, months after a trial held in June in Fargo.
He ruled that the 2021 redistricting plan for two districts, one with two House subdistricts, “prevents Native American voters from having an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice in violation” of a major provision of the Voting Rights Act.
Welte gave the Republican-controlled Legislature until Dec. 22 “to adopt a plan to remedy the violation."
The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and the Spirit Lake Tribe alleged the 2021 redistricting map violates the Voting Rights Act, the landmark civil rights law from 1965. Their complaint argued that the reapportionment “packs” Turtle Mountain tribal members into one House district and leaves Spirit Lake out of a majority-Native district.