Eight Measures on N. Dakota Ballot

Fri, Oct 31 2014 by Neal Hobson

North Dakotans will decide 8 ballot issues this November, the most the Roughrider State has seen since 1989, when the state legislature referred 8 measures, which all went down to defeat. This November, 4 of the measures were referred by the legislature and 4 others put on the ballot through citizen petitions. Another legislatively referred measure was voted on in June.

The state has a long history of placing multiple measures on the ballot, with voters casting votes on 470 ballot issues in North Dakota’s history (both citizen-initiated and legislature-referred). The record for the most measures on the ballot came in 1938, with 13 separate measures.

Among the issues North Dakotans are casting ballots for or against in this election is Measure 4.  The constitutional amendment, initiated by the legislature, attempts to restrict petitioning efforts by preventing petition circulation for any new constitutional amendment that would “make a direct appropriation of public funds for a specific purpose or would require the legislative assembly to appropriate funds for a specific purpose.”

If passed, future legislative actions to block certain initiatives will no doubt lead to significant litigation, further encumbering efforts by citizens to initiate constitutional measures.

“Historically, the Legislature has tried to make it more difficult for citizens to use the initiative and referendum process,” retired professor Lloyd Omdahl said. “The Legislature has never liked it.”

“[Measure 4] is another attempt to put the brakes on it,” he said.

Citizens in Charge has endorsed a NO vote on Measure 4.

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