The Republican-led Legislature continues to push anti-voter changes to the citizen-led constitutional measure process. Their latest attempt would double the amount of required signatures needed to be placed on the ballot. It would also increase the approval threshold to 60% instead of a “majority” as required in current law. The Legislature doesn’t like recent outcomes at the ballot, so they’ll just attempt to change the rules.
If you’ve been following along, these are the new requirements the Legislature would have you – as a North Dakota voter – undergo to successfully pass a constitutional measure. If their desired changes passed, a citizen would be required to:
- Double the amount of signatures to be turned into the Secretary of State. Current law requires 4% of electors. The new requirement would be 8% – SCR 4015 (sponsored by Senators Unruh and Wardner, Rep. Pollert)
- The petition would need to be turned in to the Secretary of State 240 days prior to the election. Current law requires 120 days. Again, doubling the current requirement in state law – SCR 4015 (sponsored by Senators Unruh and Wardner, Rep. Pollert)
- Additional language added to the ballot – SB 2256 (sponsored by Senators Unruh, Myrdal, Poolman and Rep. Mock, Roers-Jones, Schmidt)
- The measure must be on a general election ballot. HCR 3034 (sponsored by Rep. Steiner)
- 60% of voters would need to approve of the amendment. SCR 4015 (sponsored by Senators Unruh and Wardner, Rep. Pollert) AND HCR 3010(sponsored by Rep. Vetter, Becker, Bellew, Ertelt, Johnson, Kading, D. Ruby and Senators Kannianen and Unruh)
- If 60% of voters agreed and the measure passed, the Legislature would get an up or down vote on the measure. SCR 4001 (sponsored by Senators Hogue, Dever, G. Lee and Rep. K. Koppelman, Louser, Nather)
- If the Legislature rejects the amendment, the citizen would have to try and get 60% voter approval again on the next general election ballot. SCR 4001 (sponsored by Senators Hogue, Dever, G. Lee and Rep. K. Koppelman, Louser, Nather)
The persistent, orchestrated, arrogant attack on the citizen-led constitutional amendment process by the 2019 Republican-led Legislature continues after Governor Burgum claimed “there is confusion” among voters. These proposed changes will certainly clear that up and “educate” those pesky voters. It begs the question, why are elected officials in Bismarck so anti-voter?