Proposed initiated Constitutional amendment pending to spell out who's eligible to vote in ND

May 15, 2018

North Dakota voters may be asked to make some changes to the state’s Constitution concerning who is eligible to vote in North Dakota elections.

Article II already states you have to be a resident of the US and of North Dakota to vote. But the chairman of the sponsoring committee, former state Republican Party chairman and GOP State Senate candidate Gary Emineth said the proposed amendment would further clarify who can vote, and in what elections.

"There's a move across the country, in a lot of local jurisdictions, to allow non-citizens to vote," Emineth said. "What we wanted to do is make sure it's fundamentally clear that voting is reserved exclusively for US and North Dakota citizens."

Emineth said the sponsoring committee knows of at least one incident in the 2016 elections, when a citizen of Canada  attempted to vote in North Dakota.

"In that case, the auditor did not feel it was his jurisdiction or authority to crack down on it," Emineth said. "We want to make it abundantly clear, by putting it in the Constitution, we tighten it up, and the auditors across the state will know what the provisions are."

Emineth also said putting this in the Constitution will make it much harder to change the voting law, as opposed to having a statutory measure.

"We think there was some ambiguity when they wrote that part of the Constitution," Emineth said.

Once the Secretary of State approves the ballot language, the committee needs to collect 26,904 valid signatures by July 9th to get it on the November ballot.