North Dakota Initiative Filing Deadline Amendment, Measure 1 (June 2014)
- 1 Election results
- 2 Text of the measure
- 3 Background
- 4 Support
- 5 Opposition
- 6 Media editorial positions
- 7 Path to the ballot
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
The measure was designed to change the filing deadline for initiated petitions from 90 to 120 days before a statewide election and provide that challenges to the secretary of state's decisions regarding ballot petitions must be filed with the supreme court at least 75 days before the election.
The measure was introduced into the North Dakota Legislature as House Concurrent Resolution 3034. In the North Dakota Senate, 64 percent of senators voted for the amendment. In the North Dakota House, 85 percent of representatives voted in favor of the amendment.
At the time of the election, North Dakota had the second latest signature filing deadline in the country. Only Oklahoma's deadline was later, at 60 days prior to an election. Four states - Arizona, Arkansas, Nebraska and Washington - had deadlines set around 120 days. The average signature filing deadline before an election was approximately 138 days, at the time of Measure 1's approval.
2014 marked the centennial anniversary of North Dakota's initiative and referendum process.
At the time of the election, the most recent prior ballot measure on the state's initiative and referendum process was Constitutional Measure 2 of 2004. Measure 2 was approved and mandated fiscal impact statements for initiated measures.
Below are the official election results:
|North Dakota Measure 1|
- These results are from the North Dakota Secretary of State.
Text of the measure
The official ballot text read as follows:
|“||Constitutional Measure No. 1
(HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 3034, 2013 SESSION LAWS, CH. 518)
This constitutional measure would amend and reenact sections 5, 6, and 7 of Article III of the North Dakota Constitution by changing the filing deadline for the submission of initiated measure petitions from ninety days to one hundred twenty days before a statewide election, and by providing that any challenges regarding measure petitions must be filed with the Supreme Court no later than seventy-five days before the election.
￼▢ YES - Means you approve the measure as summarized above.
|North Dakota Constitution|
|Section 5. An initiative petition shall be submitted not less than |
Section 6. The secretary of state shall pass upon each petition, and if
Section 7. All decisions of the secretary of state in the petition process are subject to review by the supreme court in the exercise of original jurisdiction. A proceeding to review a decision of the secretary of state must be filed with the supreme court no later than seventy-five days before the date of the statewide election at which the measure is to be voted upon. If
North Dakota celebrated the state’s century-old tradition of initiative and referendum in 2014. In 1914, North Dakotans approved the Initiated Constitutional Amendment Referendum, which created a process for indirect initiated constitutional amendments, and the Initiative Statute Amendment Referendum, which created a process for indirect initiated state statutes. Both measures were placed on the ballot by the North Dakota Legislature.
In 1918, the citizenry, utilizing their new power of initiative, voted on an initiated constitutional amendment to make the initiative process "direct," meaning the legislature was no longer involved in an initiative's approval or defeat, and to reduce the petition filing deadline to 90 days before the election. The Simplified Initiative and Referendum Process Initiative was approved.
Since 1918, North Dakotans have voted on a number of occasions to amend the state's process of initiative and referendum. The following are approved measures that changed the process and defeated measures that did not:
- North Dakota Future Constitutional Amendments Referendum (1932): Would have required 40,000 signatures for initiated constitutional amendments
- North Dakota Legislative Power and Direct Democracy Referendum (1936): Would have required 20,000 signatures for both initiatives and veto referendums
- North Dakota Legislative Power and Direct Democracy Referendum (1940): Would have required 15,000 signatures for both initiatives and veto referendums
- North Dakota Direct Democracy Referendum (1942): Would have required 30,000 signatures for initiated constitutional amendments and that they be filed 120 days before the election
- North Dakota Direct Democracy and Publicity Pamphlet, Referendum 2 (1958): Would have required an amount of signatures equal to 10 percent of the vote cast at the most recent gubernatorial election
- North Dakota Direct Democracy Signature Requirements, Alternate Proposition 2 (1972): Required an amount of signatures equal to 2 percent of the population for initiated state statutes and veto referendums and 4 percent of the population for initiated constitutional amendments
- North Dakota Direct Democracy Referendum, Amendment 3 (1978): Required initiative petition approval by the Secretary of State and subjection to review by the North Dakota Supreme Court
- North Dakota Initiative Measure Fiscal Impact Referendum, Constitutional Measure 2 (2004): Required a fiscal impact statement for initiated measures
Other government officials who supported the measure included:
- Sen. Armstrong (R-36) said the new deadlines would provide a much more adequate timespan for the secretary of state's office to review signature petitions and for the supreme court to hear and consider challenges.
- Secretary of State Al Jaeger (R), replying to opponents of the measure, said, "My position is that this maintains the rights of all of the people, the (petition) circulators and everybody else out there who needs to have the assurance of knowing that the petitions were circulated in a lawful manner." He said that large events, such as the state fair, would not "make or break" a petition drive.
- April Fairfield, candidate for Secretary of State in 2014 (D)
- Dustin Gawrylow, managing director of North Dakota Watchdog Network
- Citizens in Charge designates legislation as either "helping," "harming" or "neutral towards" the initiative process. They deemed Measure 1 as "harming" because the amendment would make late summer gathering events, such as the North Dakota State Fair, inaccessible to petition signature gatherers due to the date restrictions. Citizens in Charge called the state fair a "big gathering opportunity."
- April Fairfield (D) argued, "This measure may seem benign enough, but it’s not. What this measure actually does is strike a blow at the heart of a longstanding North Dakota tradition."
- Dustin Gawrylow of the North Dakota Watchdog Network stated, "It simply is not a pro-voter or pro-citizen measure. This is designed to restrict the people’s ability to influence legislation."
Media editorial positions
- Forum Communications Co., owner of The Jamestown Sun and The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, said,
|“||Opponents of Measure 1 on the June 10 North Dakota ballot either have not read through the measure’s enabling language or they are misrepresenting the measure’s purpose and effect in order to indulge their political biases.
The evidence suggests the latter is their motivation...
In other words, they are win-win changes, and in no way attenuate any North Dakotan’s right to use the initiative and referral. If anything, the measure enhances a cherished option by better guarding against fraud (say, in signature gathering) and allowing everyone involved in an initiative or referral campaign plenty of time to validate signatures, appeal to the secretary and use the courts, if necessary...
Nothing North Dakota is doing here is radical. Indeed, it’s a thoughtful, pragmatic improvement that will make initiative and referral more open and more responsive for petitioners. North Dakota is an exception with its restrictive 90-day (prior to the vote) filing deadline. Many states are 120 days, and the national average of states that have initiative and referral is about 138 days. Going to 120 days in North Dakota is sensible.
North Dakotans should vote “yes” for Measure 1 on June 10. 
—The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead Editorial Board 
- The Bismarck Tribune said,
|“||The Tribune feels these changes aren’t needed and recommends a no vote on Measure 1... It’s understandable that the secretary of state wants more time to be thorough and avoid problems at election time. However, the problems he’s envisioned haven’t occurred... North Dakota has long prided itself on open government with an initiative and referral process that gives citizens an opportunity to take action...
Citizens can get a measure passed that was rejected by lawmakers or overturn action by the lawmakers. Or put a new idea on the ballot. It’s citizen involvement. Granted, over the years initiative efforts have become more sophisticated with a fair amount of money spent. But the opportunity to be heard, the chance to challenge, remains essential...
If the secretary of state is worried about being swamped with petitions close to the election, steps should be taken to provide the office with more help...
North Dakota should be cautious when tinkering with the process. At this time, the wise vote is no. 
—The Bismarck Tribune Editorial Board 
Path to the ballot
- See also: Amending the North Dakota Constitution
As required by Section 16 of Article IV of the North Dakota Constitution, the state legislature approved the bill by a simple majority in order to place the measure on the ballot. HCR 3034 was passed by the North Dakota Senate on April 10, 2013. The bill was passed by the North Dakota House on April 19, 2013.
April 10, 2013 Senate vote
|North Dakota HCR 3034 Senate Vote|
April 19, 2013 House vote
|North Dakota HCR 3034 House Vote|
- North Dakota 2014 ballot measures
- 2014 ballot measures
- Laws governing ballot measures in North Dakota
- Laws governing the initiative process in North Dakota
- North Dakota House Concurrent Resolution 3034 (2013)
- North Dakota Legislature, "House Concurrent Resolution No. 3034," accessed January 21, 2014
- North Dakota Legislature, "Bill Actions for HCR 3034," accessed January 22, 2014
- North Dakota Secretary of State, "Consolidated Sample Primary Election Ballot, June 10, 2014, Fargo, ND" accessed April 17, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- North Dakota Secretary of State, "Measures on the June 10, 2014 Ballot," accessed March 31, 2014
- North Dakota Secretary of State, "History of Initiative and Referendum in North Dakota," accessed April 1, 2014
- The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, "ND secretary of state challenger urges 'no' vote on June ballot," May 28, 2014 (dead link)
- The Bismarck Tribune, "North Dakota Senate OKs bill to strengthen DUI penalties," April 10, 2014
- Citizens in Charge, "Initiative and Referendum Legislation Tracker 2013," May 1, 2013
- The Jamestown Sun, "Measure 1 would improve the initiative process," June 4, 2014
- The Bismarck Tribune, "Measure 1 is not needed at this time," June 4, 2014
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