Constitutional measure aims to raise threshold for passing constitutional measures

Local News

Some North Dakotans say it’s too easy to amend the state constitution with an initiated measure. Members of Protect North Dakota’s Constitution took the first step Tuesday to make it harder.

They submitted a petition for a constitutional measure to the Secretary of State that would change the way constitutional measures are approved in the state. The measure would increase the percentage of votes needed to amend the constitution from a simple majority (50 percent plus one) to 60 percent.

It would also limit initiated measures to one subject. Those spearheading the effort say it’s not in response to any specific measure, but rather the principle that the constitution shouldn’t be so easy to change.

“The constitution facing an initiated measure every election cycle seems like our constitution is under attack, and should face a higher threshold to be approved. We’re not debating the merits of any one particular measure. We believe any measure brought forward, if 60 percent of North Dakotans agree on it, it’s probably a good idea,” Jeff Zarling, co-chair of the committee to Protect North Dakota’s Constitution.

Zarling said he expects the group to gather roughly 35,000 to 40,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot. The earliest that Secretary of State Al Jaeger could approve the petition title would be April 20.

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