A controversial election initiative is on the ballot for now — but a group is hoping to change that before November.
Conservative organization Brighter Future Alliance is suing Secretary of State Al Jaeger over Measure 3.
“The main purpose behind the lawsuit is the fact that they broke the law when they did their signature gathering,” Lacee Anderson, legal spokesperson for Brighter Future Alliance, said.
“There’s longstanding precedent in North Dakota that if you are going to reference a statute in your ballot measure, that you must include that statutory language with a petition when you’re getting your signatures and in this case they did not do that,” Anderson added.
“It’s five disjointed issues that they’re putting into one measure,” Anderson said. “It drastically changes our election process that we’ve had in place for decades, and I think a lot of people don’t understand the consequences of that.”
Instead, according to Anderson, some signers say they were only told about the first part of the measure, which would extend the time military-overseas voters have to mail in a ballot. They say they weren’t told about the other parts, which would allow for open primaries and ranked-choice voting, and give redistricting authority to the five-member appointed ethics commission.
Senior Campaign Advisor for North Dakota Voters First, Amy Jacobson, says the lawsuit is a waste of time and taxpayer money.
“This is a frivolous lawsuit, it is meritless and baseless, we are very confident we’ll be on the ballot in November,” Jacobson said.
Jacobson denies the allegations of deception with the signature-gathering process.
“You’re confident that in every case, everybody who signed the petition was given the chance to read over the text?” KX News asked. “Yes, if they chose, the text was there and they could read over the whole thing,” Jacobson said.
She adds the efforts to remove the measure from the ballot take away voters’ choice.
“They’re really just trying to confuse voters,” Jacobson said. “We should let voters make their educated decision in November. We’re confident in voters abilities.”
The State Supreme Court will hear oral arguments at 3 p.m. this coming Thursday. The arguments will be streamed online.