PolitiFact Gives North Dakota Dem Party ‘Pants on Fire’ Rating for False Claim About Hunters Losing Licenses by Voting

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp / Getty Images
• November 2, 2018 9:56 pm


Hunters who vote in North Dakota's midterm elections next week will not lose their hunting licenses, despite a new ad by the North Dakota Democratic Party claiming that voting could cost hunters their out-of-state licenses.

"Attention hunters: Voting in North Dakota could cost you your out-of-state hunting licenses," says the Facebook ad released earlier this week.

PolitiFact explained that hunters do not have to fear that they may lose their licenses if they vote.

If you have an out-of-state hunting license anywhere outside of North Dakota—and it's an out-of-state license, rather than a residential one for residents of that state—you're safe.

If you have a North Dakota residential hunting license, you're also safe, because in applying for that license you already gave up any other residential licenses. North Dakota's Game and Fish department doesn't allow a person to hold two residential licenses. (Those tend to expire within a season or year anyway.)

PolitiFact also found no evidence that people living in North Dakota who have a residential license in another state, such as people who recently moved, would lose those licenses. The Fish and Wildlife offices in Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Minnesota said voting in North Dakota would not make a residential license void.

"I do absolutely think it is voter suppression to try and trick folks this way," Cameron Wimpy, research director at MIT Election Data and Science Lab, said of the Facebook ad.

PolitiFact gave the party's claim its lowest possible rating, a "pants on fire" rating.

It's hard to interpret this in any way except that it seeks to discourage people from voting. But voting will not cost anyone their hunting licenses. People with out-of-state hunting licenses get to keep their licenses; the warning only applies to people with residential licenses in another state who recently moved to North Dakota. Voting would not make those null, but establishing residency in another state, which is a prerequisite to voting, might, depending on the state.

The ad employs a ridiculous argument. We rate this statement Pants on Fire!

The Republican Party has a chance to gain a Senate seat in North Dakota, with incumbent Democrat Heidi Heitkamp trailing Rep. Kevin Cramer (R., N.D.) in recent polls.