BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET)— Election and voter fraud remain a concern, not just nationally, but locally as well. North Dakota lawmakers are proposing legislation they hope will make it harder for voter fraud to happen, but making all-encompassing laws isn’t easy.

“If you’re going to be a sponsoring member of that measure, you need to make sure that it is being done correctly, lawfully, and it is your responsibility to do so,” District 30 Rep. Mike Nathe- (R) said, addressing the North Dakota House Judiciary Committee.


For that reason and more, Representative Nathe and several other North Dakota lawmakers are working on getting House Bill 1230 passed. He said the bill is due in part to the controversy surrounding the number of fraudulent signatures found in the recent term-limits petition that recently became law. If passed, H.B. 1230 would call for monetary penalties.

One penalty would be when a member of a sponsoring committee willfully submits an invalid petition, they would face no less than a $1,000 fine. The other penalty involves the measure committee itself. If they were to willfully submit an invalid petition, that committee would face a fine of no less than $10,000 and not be able to practice business in North Dakota for five years.

“What I’m trying to do is hold people accountable to whatever measure they support to make sure the initiated measure process is done legally and above board,” Nathe said. But, there are concerns about the bill’s current language, including whether the whole committee is liable or just one person, what it would take for legal action, as well as a better definition of what it means to “conduct business.”

“If I’m on the signature committee or signing onto the committee, I should be liable for my own actions, obviously,” concerned North Dakotan Paul Henderson said. “But how do I know what the other people on the committee are doing?”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lawrence Klemin-(R) also agrees the bill needs clarity, especially, if in fact, Representative Nathe wants his bill to be more restrictive.

“If that’s really what we want to do, it probably should be made an explicit offense under the offense part of the statute, and then deal with the penalties which are already in the law,” Rep. Klemin said.

Representative Nathe said he understands and appreciates the comments and need for more work: work that could yield the results he and others are looking for.

At the end of the hearing, no date or time was given for revisiting the proposed legislation.