Vote button trans.png
April's Project of the Month
It's spring time. It's primary election season!
Click here to find all the information you'll need to cast your ballot.




Laws governing the initiative process in North Dakota

From Ballotpedia
Revision as of 14:21, 30 August 2012 by BaileyL (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
[edit]

Ballot law
BallotLaw final.png
State laws
Initiative law
Recall law
Statutory changes
Court cases
Lawsuit news
Ballot access rulings
Recent court cases
Petitioner access
Ballot title challenges
Superseding initiatives
Signature challenges
Laws governing
local ballot measures
Contents
1 Laws and procedures
1.1 Crafting an initiative
1.1.1 Single-subject rule
1.1.2 Subject restrictions
1.1.3 Competing initiatives
1.2 Starting a petition
1.2.1 Applying to petition
1.2.2 Proposal review/approval
1.2.3 Petition summary
1.3 Collecting signatures
1.3.1 Number required
1.3.2 Distribution requirements
1.3.3 Restrictions on circulators
1.3.4 Electronic signatures
1.3.5 Deadlines for collection
1.4 Getting on the ballot
1.4.1 Signature verification
1.4.2 Ballot title and summary
1.4.3 Fiscal review
1.5 The election and beyond
1.5.1 Supermajority requirements
1.5.2 Effective date
1.5.3 Litigation
1.5.4 Legislative tampering
1.5.5 Re-attempting an initiative
1.6 Funding an initiative campaign
1.7 State initiative law
2 Changes in the law

Citizens of North Dakota may initiate legislation as either a state statute or a constitutional amendment. In North Dakota, citizens also have the power to repeal legislation via veto referendum. The North Dakota Legislative Assembly may also place measures on the ballot as legislatively-referred constitutional amendments with a majority vote.

Crafting an initiative

Of the 24 states that allow citizens to initiate legislation through the petition process, several states have adopted restrictions and regulations that limit the scope and content of proposed initiatives. These regulations may include laws that mandate that initiatives address only one topic, restrict the range of acceptable topics for proposed laws, prohibit unfunded mandates, and establish guidelines for adjudicating contradictory measures.

Single-subject rule

See also: Single-subject rule

North Dakota does not employ a single-subject rule.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Constitution, Article III, Sections 1-10 & North Dakota Century Code, Title 16.1, Chapter 1, Sections 7-17 

Subject restrictions

See also: Subject restrictions (ballot measures)

Initiated measures and amendments are not governed by subject restrictions in North Dakota. In addition, they are not required to specify a funding source for mandated expenditures.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Constitution, Article III, Sections 1-10 & North Dakota Century Code, Title 16.1, Chapter 1, Sections 7-17 

Competing initiatives

See also: Superseding initiative; "Poison pills"; List of North Dakota ballot measures

North Dakota law provides that in the event that two measures conflict, the measure with the most affirmative votes supersedes the other.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Constitution, Article III, Section 8

Starting a petition

Each initiative and referendum state employs a different procedure for filing petition applications. Some states require preliminary signatures while others do not. In addition, several states review each proposed statute, verifying that the law conforms to the style and conventions of state law and recommending alterations to initiative proponents. Some of these of these states also review the law for more substantive considerations of content and consistency. Also, many states conduct a review of the ballot title and summary, and several states employ a fiscal review process which analyzes proposed laws to determine their impact on state finances.[1][2][3]

Applying to petition

See also: Approved for circulation

North Dakota is one of several states that require a certain number of signatures to accompany petition applications. The signatures of at least 25 qualified voters who will serve as sponsors of the ballot measure are required. A chairperson for the sponsors must be also designated. In addition, sponsors must file a copy of the petition complete with the text of the measure.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Constitution, Article III, Section 2 & North Dakota Century Code, Title 16.1, Chapter 1, Section 9 

Proposal review/approval

See also: Approved for circulation

The North Dakota Secretary of State reviews the petition to ensure that it is in "proper form and contains the names and addresses of the sponsors and the full text of the measure."

  • An example of an approved petition can be found here.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Constitution, Article III, Section 2 & North Dakota Century Code, Title 16.1, Chapter 1, Section 9 

Petition summary

See also: Ballot measure summary statement

The Secretary of State drafts a petition title for the measure fairly and concisely representing the measure. This title must be approved by the North Dakota Attorney General.

  • An example of a petition title can be found on the petition here.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Constitution, Article III, Section 2 & North Dakota Century Code, Title 16.1, Chapter 1, Section 9 

Collecting signatures

Each initiative and referendum state employs a unique method of calculating the state's signature requirements. Some states mandate a certain fraction of registered voters while others base their calculation on those who actually voted in a preceding election. In addition, many states employ a distribution requirement, dictating where in the state these signatures must be collected. Beyond these overarching requirements, many states regulate the manner in which signatures may be collected and the timeline for collecting them.

Number required

See also: North Dakota signature requirements

Since North Dakota does not have a voter registration system, the number of signatures required is tied to the population reported by the last decennial census. As such, any US Citizen who is at least 18 years old and who has resided in the state for at least thirty day may sign an initiative petition. For statutes and veto referenda, the number of signatures required is 2% of the population. For amendments, it is 4% of the population. For recall, signatures must equal 25% of the votes cast for that particular office in the last election. Officials in Congress are exempt. A signer's name be legibly printed on a petition and include the signer's zip code in the required information.

Year Constitutional amendment Initiated statute Veto referendum
2014 26,904 13,452 13,452
2012 26,904 13,452 13,452
2010 25,688 12,844 12,844
2008 25,688 12,844 12,844

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Constitution, Article III, Sections 4, 9, & 10

Distribution requirements

See also: Distribution requirements

North Dakota does not have a distribution requirement for petition signatures.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Constitution, Article III, Sections 1-10 & North Dakota Century Code, Title 16.1, Chapter 1, Sections 7-17 

Restrictions on circulators

Pay-per-signature

See also: Pay-per-signature

North Dakota does not permit paying circulators by the signature. In Initiative & Referendum Institute v. Jaeger, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld the ban.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Century Code, Title 16.1, Chapter 1, Section 12(11)  & I & R Institute v. Jaeger

Out-of-state circulators

See also: Residency requirements for petition circulators

North Dakota requires signature gatherers to be eligible to vote in the state. In Initiative & Referendum Institute v. Jaeger, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld the requirement.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Constitution, Article III, Section 3 & I & R Institute v. Jaeger

Badge requirements

See also: Badge requirements

North Dakota law does not require the circulator's paid/volunteer status to be disclosed.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Constitution, Article III, Sections 1-10 & North Dakota Century Code, Title 16.1, Chapter 1, Sections 7-17 

Electronic signatures

See also: Electronic petition signatures

Since electronic signatures are an emerging technology, the constitutionality of bans on e-signatures and the legality of e-signatures in states without bans is largely untested. North Dakota law does mandate that signatures be collected in person.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Constitution, Article III, Section 3

Deadlines for collection

See also: Petition drive deadlines; Circulation period

In North Dakota, petitioners may only circulate a petition for one year following the Secretary of State's initial approval. The completed petition must be submitted at least 90 days prior to the election.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Century Code, Title 16.1, Chapter 1, Section 9 (7) 

Getting on the ballot

Once signatures have been collected, state officials must verify that requirements are met and that fraudulent signatures are excluded. States generally employ a random sample process or a full verification of signatures. After verification, the issue must be prepared for the ballot. This often involves preparing a fiscal review and ballot summary.

Signature verification

See also: Signature certification

Once the signatures have been gathered, the Secretary of State verifies them using a random sample method. Since North Dakota does not have a voter registration system, the Secretary may use "questionnaires, postcards, telephone calls, personal interviews, or other accepted information-gathering techniques" to verify the selected signatures.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Century Code, Title 16.1, Chapter 1, Section 10 

Ballot title and summary

See also: Ballot title

In North Dakota, measures are given a generic name (Constitutional Measure No. 1, Initiated Statutory Measure No. 2). Numbers are assigned sequentially for all measures beginning with "1" at each election. Descriptive titles, summaries, or fiscal analyses do not appear on the ballot.

  • A sample ballot can be found here.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Constitution, Article III, Sections 1-10 & North Dakota Century Code, Title 16.1, Chapter 1, Sections 7-17 

Fiscal review

See also: Fiscal impact statement

The North Dakota Legislative Council prepares a fiscal analysis of each measure after certification and prior to the election. This information is made available to the public by the Secretary of State.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Constitution, Article III, Sections 2 & North Dakota Century Code, Title 16.1, Chapter 1, Section 17 

The election and beyond

Ballot measures face additional challenges beyond qualifying for the ballot and receiving a majority of the vote. Several states require ballot measures to get more than a simple majority. While some states mandate a 3/5 supermajority, others states set the margin differently. In addition, ballot measures may face legal challenge or modification by legislators. If a ballot measure does fail, some states limit how soon that initiative can be re-attempted.

Supermajority requirements

See also: Supermajority requirements

In North Dakota, each ballot measure requires only a simple majority of the votes cast for or against it. This also applies to legislative referrals.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Constitution, Article III, Sections 8 & 9

Effective date

Approved North Dakota ballot measures take effect 30 days after the election.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Constitution, Article III, Sections 8 & 9

Litigation

See also: Ballot measure lawsuit news

Challenges to any decision made by the Secretary of State during the initiative process should be filed in the North Dakota Supreme Court. No court ruling may invalidate a measure after voters have approved it. In addition, if a challenge is pending while the ballot is being prepared, the measure should still be placed on the ballot.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Constitution, Article III, Section 7

Legislative tampering

See also: Legislative tampering

The North Dakota Legislative Assembly may not repeal or amend an initiative for seven years without a 2/3 majority votes.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Constitution, Article III, Section 8

Re-attempting an initiative

In North Dakota, there is effectively no limit on how often ballot measures may be reattempted.[4] State law does prohibit "more than two elections on the same general matter" within twelve months. Since measures are typically presented at only primary and general elections, a special election would have to be called to exceed this limit. Moreover, the petition periods for these measures would overlap, requiring petitions on the "same general matter" to be circulated simultaneously for multiple elections.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: North Dakota Constitution, Article III, Sections 1-10 & North Dakota Century Code, Title 16.1, Chapter 1, Section 11 

Funding an initiative campaign

See also: Campaign finance requirements for North Dakota ballot measures

Some of the notable features of North Dakota's campaign finance laws include:

  • Corporate contributions are treated as direct expenditures in support or opposition of a referendum.
  • North Dakota bans corporate contributions while a legislative-referred referendum is in debate in the North Dakota Legislative Assembly.
  • Groups in support or opposition of a referendum must report all contributions of $500 or more within 48 hours during the final 20 days before the election.

State initiative law

Article III of the North Dakota Constitution addresses initiatives.

Chapter 1 of Title 16.1 of the North Dakota Century Code governs initiatives.

External links

References


Ballot law
BallotLaw final.png
State laws
Initiative law
Recall law
Statutory changes
Court cases
Lawsuit news
Ballot access rulings
Recent court cases
Petitioner access
Ballot title challenges
Superseding initiatives
Signature challenges
Laws governing
local ballot measures
Contents
1 Laws and procedures
2 Changes in the law
2.1 Proposed changes by year
2.1.1 2012
2.1.2 2011
2.1.3 2010

The following laws have been proposed which modify ballot measure law in North Dakota.

Proposed changes by year

2012

See also: Changes in 2012 to laws governing ballot measures



As of April 2014, no bills were introduced in the North Dakota State Legislature.

2011

See also: Changes in 2011 to laws governing ballot measures



The following bills were introduced in the North Dakota Legislative Assembly:

Defeatedd North Dakota House Bill 1295: HB 1295 would require voter approval for municipal building projects. Fire, police, and EMS projects are exempted from this requirement. The bill would also require school construction, purchase, renovation projects to have the approval of the superintendent.

Approveda North Dakota House Bill 1311: HB 1311 would extend financial disclosure requirements to any organization circulating initiative petitions. Currently, the requirements (disclosure of all contributions greater than $100 dollars) only apply to committees promoting or opposing measures. The disclosure filing would be due upon the filing of petition signatures.

Defeatedd North Dakota House Concurrent Resolution 3051: HCR 3051 proposes an amendment to the North Dakota Constitution which would allow the "legislative assembly to submit proposed laws to the electorate for approval if the electorate previously placed the proposed law on the ballot."

Approveda North Dakota Senate Bill 2073: SB 2073 clarifies the definition of "direct expenditure" and changes the disclosure requirements for corporations, cooperatives, and associations.

2010

See also: Changes in 2010 to laws governing ballot measures

No proposed changes were identified in 2010.