NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — The debate over term limits is heating up with early voting underway and with election day in less than a month.

If passed, the constitutional amendment [measure 1] would limit the governor to two, four-year terms in office. State legislators to eight years in the House and eight years in the Senate.
Currently, these elected leaders serve four-year terms with no restrictions on the length of service.

In a 2020 survey of term limits in North Dakota, an overwhelming 83% of the respondents reported wanting term limits on the governor, and 82% supported term limits on the state lawmakers.

This week a growing list of groups have formally announced their opposition to the term limits measure.

NDFB’s Emmery Mehlhoff talks opposition to term limits:

It’s a cross reference of industries, including groups like, Greater North Dakota Chamber, Stockmen’s Association, Petroleum Council, ND Council of Education Leaders, and more.

But the man behind the statewide petition campaign says it will not stop the voters from passing it in November.

“It’s polling at 80%, so I think it’s going to pass no matter what they do or how much they spend,” explained Independent “Trump Republican” candidate for Secretary of State Charles Tuttle.

A Democrat from Fargo, Representative Joshua Boschee says the voters should consider the system of government we have in North Dakota before supporting term limits.

“We are extremely part-time legislators, out of one four-year term we only serve 160 days,” explained Representative Joshua Boschee.

He says putting restrictions on the length of service will further diminish the effectiveness of legislators.

“I’m fearful of what that means in terms of institutional memory and the understanding of how policy works,” said Boschee.

And putting the power in the hand of lobbyists.

“They become the institutional memory, they become the ones who know how the process works much better. I am running for re-election, but I am just wrapping up my tenth year in the state legislature. I finally have a good solid grasp of the state budget,” explained Boschee.

A key argument for term limits is the insurmountable influence of North Dakota’s supermajority.

The voters only really have one choice in elections, because there are no viable candidates on the opposing side.

Proponents say term limits is the only way to change that.

“First of all, there is no Democratic party in North Dakota. They are all in the Republican party. Secondly, I don’t care about the good ole boys club. I care about is whether we are representing our peers, or are we representing our constituents. I want to see us represent the constituents, the voters of North Dakota.”

In the spring, Secretary of State Al Jaeger denied more than 29-thousand signatures claiming they were fraudulent.

Later the North Dakota Supreme Court filed an opinion that Jaeger misapplied the law when he excluded those signatures.

Then, Attorney General Drew Wrigley said the court’s decision was legitimate but disagreed with the outcome.

Organizations opposing Measure 1:

Greater North Dakota Chamber; Association General Contractors; Lignite Energy Council; ND Hospital Association; ND Stockmen’s Association; North Dakota Farmers Union; North Dakota Petroleum Council; ND Council of Education Leaders; North Dakota Farmers Union; North Dakota Farm Bureau