2012 elections preview: North Dakota voters to decide on 4 ballot measures in primary
By Eric Veram
BISMARCK, North Dakota: Voters in North Dakota's primaries will have more than just candidates to decide on as four statewide questions have made it to the ballot as well. In contrast to a number of states which allow for legislative referrals only, North Dakota allows for citizen driven measures as well and the questions before tomorrow's voters reflect this diversity. In addition to following a variety of paths to the ballot, this group of measures covers a wide range of topics.
Below is a summary of what will be placed before state voters.
Overview of the measures
Measure 1 is this election's only legislatively-referred constitutional amendment and pertains to the administration of government. If approved the measure would allow state legislators to be appointed to other government offices.
Measure 2 is a constitutional amendment proposed by citizens dealing with taxes. The measure seeks to eliminate property taxes throughout the state and replace local governments property tax income with state tax revenue. Interestingly, a similar proposal was rejected in 2009 by the North Dakota legislature.
Measure 3 is also an initiated constitutional amendment but deals with religion, or, more specifically, the constitutional freedom of religion. This measure asserts that a person's right to act or refuse due to a religious belief may not be burdened by the government unless the government proves it has a "compelling interest." The measure's sponsors claim that the goal of the amendment is to restore older standards for government mandates that run counter to individuals' religious beliefs.
Measure 4 is a veto referendum and is the only question on the ballot that does not seek to alter the state constitution. Instead the referendum asks if voters approve SB 2370, a law which allows the University of North Dakota to discontinue using the "Fighting Sioux" nickname. Therefore, a Yes vote on the measure means a vote for the University of North Dakota to drop the nickname, while a No vote keeps the nickname.
So far two measures have qualified for the November ballot in North Dakota. In contrast to the variety on the primary ballot, both of these measure are legislative referrals and both pertain to the administration of government. The approved measures are the Poll Tax Amendment, Measure 1 and the Oaths of Office Amendment, Measure 2. There are, however, a number of proposals still seeking to qualify for the general election.
To read more about these measures, visit North Dakota's 2012 ballot measure page.