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Group wants to limit initiated Constitutional measures to a single subject, and require a 60% vote

Dave Thompson
Prairie Public

A group thinks it’s too easy to amend North Dakota’s Constitution.

Right now, an initiated Constitutional amendment can be passed with a 50-percent-plus one vote.

“Protect North Dakota’s Constitution” has submitted its own amendment, that if passed by voters, would require a 60 percent majority. The group’s measure would also limit those amendments to a single subject.

"We believe our measure will improve transparency of future measures," said the group's co-chair, Jeffrey Zarling of Williston. "It will insure initiatives added to the Constitution will be well conceived and overwhelmingly supported by North Dakotans."

Co chair Micahel Haugen of Fargo told reporters that over the last decade or so, initiated measures have gotten more complicated, with multiple subjects, and some are backed by out of state interests.

"In our studying of the issue, we found that after about three things, voters are confused, and don't understand what the measure in its entirety is about," Haugen said.

Once the Secretary of State approves the wording, the group will have one year to collect the signatures.  Zarling said because of the new Census numbers coming out this fall, it may take 35,000 to 40,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot.

"PNDC intends to use a combination of organic and paid signature gatherers to gain the necessary signatures," Zarling said.

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