Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota appeared to endorse Thursday a Facebook ad, paid for by her state party, which threatened the state’s hunters with the loss of their out-of-state hunting licenses in neighboring states should they vote in the midterms on Tuesday.
Asked about the ad by a reporter, Heitkamp, who is locked in a tight race for reelection with Republican representative Kevin Cramer, said it is “really important that people understand the consequences of voting.”
The ad, which was paid for by the North Dakota Democratic-Non-Partisan League, cautioned sportsmen that, “If you vote in North Dakota, you may forfeit hunting licenses you have in other states. If you want to keep your out-of-state hunting licenses, you may not want to vote in North Dakota.”
When asked about that claim, Heitkamp insisted it was true. “Voting means you are a resident, it means you pay taxes here, it means that if you want a residential hunting license in Minnesota, it means you’re not going to get that, if you vote here,” she said.
The ad, which was verified by Facebook and categorized as a political ad, links to a page entitled “Hunter Alerts” containing a number of logos but no further information regarding the potential loss of hunting licenses.
North Dakota officials, including the secretary of state and licensing manager for the Department of Game and Fish, have said they are unaware of any relationship between hunting licenses and voting.
North Dakota Democrats have accused Republicans of suppressing Native American votes in the state by requiring that all voters, including those who live on a reservation, provide a valid address to prove their in-state residency.
Heitkamp, who has spoken out against so-called voter-suppression efforts, donated $3 million to the North Dakota Democratic-NPL through her campaign, some portion of which appears to have financed the Facebook ad.