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Judge rejects North Dakota group’s call for online petition signatures

State News
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A federal judge says he will not waive North Dakota’s ban on electronic signature gathering for a group attempting to get a wide-ranging measure on the November ballot.

North Dakota Voters First asked to allow online signature gathering because of the coronavirus pandemic. The group argued that the COVID-19 outbreak “creates an environment that is impossible to comply” with the laws.

In denying a motion for a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Peter Welte noted that the state did not issue a stay-at-home order and Gov. Doug Burgum on May 1 “revoked nearly all the previously imposed pandemic-related restrictions.”

North Dakota Voters First faces a July 6 deadline to submit at least 26,904 signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

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