Elections in North Dakota

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Statewide elections in North Dakota occur every two years. Most executive offices and all legislators are elected to four-year terms, with half the terms expiring on Presidential election years, and the other half of the offices expiring on mid-term election years.

Voting requirements[edit]

North Dakota is the only state without a voter registration process. Any person over the age of 18 who has lived in a precinct for three or more months may vote in local, state, and federal elections without registration. In order to vote, however, a person must bring identification of a type pre-selected by the North Dakota Secretary of State. For the 2016 election, this list includes a North Dakota driver's license, non-driver's ID card, tribal government issued ID card, or an identification card provided by a North Dakota long-term care facility. Neither a United States Passport nor a North Dakota College- or University-issued ID card[1] are accepted forms of identification. Starting with the 2018 election, voters without proper identification can fill out a "set aside" ballot, which will only be counted if the voter presents proper identification to a county official before the results are certified by the county canvassing board—typically six days after the election is held.[2][3]

Primary elections[edit]

Each party holds a series of party convensions in the spring of election years to endorse candidates to the various partisan offices that are up that year; legislative candidates are endorsed at district conventions and statewide candidates are endorsed at a state convention. Those candidates are automatically be placed on the primary election ballot, where they may or may not face competition from other candidates placed there by petition. The primary election winner then appears on the general election ballot. All primary elections in North Dakota are open to all qualified North Dakota electors, regardless of party affiliation.[3]

Federal elections[edit]


Since the 1972 presidential election, North Dakota has been able to send three electors to the Electoral College, who the voters pick in a first-past-the-post winner-take-all popular vote.

United States Senate[edit]

Like all US states, North Dakota must send two Senators to the United States Senate. North Dakota's two senators are in classes 1 and 3. Senator John Hoeven was elected in 2010, and Kevin Cramer was elected in 2018

United States House of Representatives[edit]

Since 1972, North Dakota has had a single seat in the United States House of Representatives; Kelly Armstrong currently fills the seat, the term for which expires every two years.

State elections[edit]


Every four years, concurrent with the federal presidential election, North Dakota voters select a governor and lieutenant governor to lead the executive branch for the next four years. The two offices are elected together on a single ballot line.

Other executive offices[edit]

Most of the other statewide executive offices are elected in a statewide popular vote to a term of four years. On presidential election years, voters select a State Auditor, State Treasurer, and Insurance Commissioner, all on a partisan ballot. They also select a Superintendent of Public Instruction on a nonpartisan ballot. On mid-term election years, voters select an Attorney General, Secretary of State, Commissioner of Agriculture, and Tax Commissioner. In addition, every two years, voters select someone to fill a six-year seat on the Public Service Commission.


All members of the North Dakota Legislative Assembly—whether the House of Representatives or the Senate—are elected to four-year terms. Even-numbered legislative districts elect their one senator and two representatives in presidential election years; odd-numbered districts do so in mid-term election years.

Supreme Court[edit]

Members of the North Dakota Supreme Court are elected by the people on a nonpartisan ballot to ten-year terms, arranged so that one seat is up every two years.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Watts, Adam; Lyden, Grace (March 9, 2016). "ID law may complicate voting for North Dakota students". Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  2. ^ "ID Required for voting in North Dakota". Vote.ND.Gov. North Dakota Secretary of State. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "2015 - 2017 North Dakota Election Laws" (PDF). Vote.ND.gov. North Dakota Secretary of State. March 2018. Retrieved January 8, 2019.

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