North Dakota Constitutional Convention Referendum, Amendment 2 (1970)

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The North Dakota Constitutional Convention Referendum, also known as Amendment 2, was on the September 1, 1970 ballot in North Dakota as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved.[1] The measure provided for a constitutional convention with delegates to be chosen as provided for by law for the purpose of proposing a new constitution or revising or amending the existing constitution.[2][3]


Formation of constitutional convention

Ninety-eight constitutional convention delegates were elected at the general election on November 3, 1970. There were 85 men and 13 women, including 34 businessmen, 25 farmers, 14 lawyers, six housewives, 6 medical or dental professionals, 3 teachers, 4 government employees, 3 retired persons, 1 labor official and 2 newspaper editors. Only one Native American served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention.[3]

The three day organizational session of the Constitutional Convention convened on April 6, 1971. The Convention established the following six committees to review the constitution and propose revisions:[3]

  • Preamble, Bill of Rights, and Suffrage Committee
  • Legislative Functions Committee
  • Executive Functions Committee
  • Judicial Functions and Political Subdivisions Committee
  • Education, Resources, and Public Lands Committee
  • Finance and Taxation Committee

Frank A. Wenstrom of Williston was elected president; William R. Pearce of Bismarck, first vice president; Stanley Saugstad of Minot, second vice president; and Lois Vogel of Fargo, secretary.[3]

New constitution defeated

See also:North Dakota Constitution, Main Proposition (1972)

Following 16 special public hearings on proposals to the new state constitution, the Convention opened the 30 day plenary session in Bismarck on January 3, 1972. The revised constitution streamlined the government of North Dakota. Major changes incorporated in the new constitution included the following:[3]

  • Reducing the number of elected state officials from fourteen to seven
  • Eliminating the office of North Dakota State Auditor and creating a new position of auditor general in the legislative branch
  • Creating a state ombudsman to deal with citizen complaints against state government
  • Extending the legislative session from 60 to 80 days
  • Creating an independent commission consisting of district judges to determine legislative apportionment.

Following the debate and formulation of the new constitution, the Constitutional Convention adjourned on February 17, 1972. Public debate on the new constitution was intense. At the special election on April 28, 1972, the new constitution was defeated by a vote of 107,643 to 64,073.[3]

Four alternate proposals

Voters were given the opportunity to vote on four special propositions apart from the vote on the new constitution. The four propositions were voted on individually and could become part of the constitution only if the proposition was approved and the new constitution adopted by the voters. Since the new constitution was not approved, the approval or defeated of these measures became moot. The four propositions included the following:[3]

Election results

North Dakota Amendment 2 (1970)
Approveda Yes 56,734 58.59%

Election results via: Legislative Manual, Official Vote of North Dakota Primary Election, 1970

Text of measure

The full text of the measure can be read here.

See also

Suggest a link

External links


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