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|North Dakota June Primary Ballot Measure #1 Is Horrible|
|Written by Chet|
If you're voting in the June Primary this year -- and you should -- and you haven't already voted, please consider giving Constitutional Measure One a great big "No" vote. Why? Let me try to explain.
On your ballot, all you're going to be told is this:
Okay, so what does that mean? What does it do "relating to changing the filing deadline for initiated petitions"?!? How does it "provide a timeline for challenges filed with the Supreme Court"? The ballot description is horrifically vague and innocuous. But the constitutional change is far from innocuous.
Let's take a look at that.
Here's the relevant text of the section and changes dealing with the deadline for filing initiated petitions:
SECTION 1. AMENDMENT. Section 5 of article III of the Constitution of North Dakota is amended and reenacted as follows:
Section 5. An initiative petition shall be submitted not less than ninety one hundred twenty days before the statewide election at which the measure is to be voted upon...
(Source) (stricken words will be removed; underlined words added)
So you ask yourself, "What does that do?"
Here's what it does: When our government doesn't act and the people finally get so disgusted with the government that they decide they want to change the law by submitting signatures and voting on an issue, right now they can just put together their petition and circulate it and submit the petition with all the signatures in early August. Anybody involved in these signature drives knows that the best time and place to get signatures is at large, Summer gatherings -- like the State Fair in Minot, or the July 4th Parade in Mandan or the Red River Valley Fair in West Fargo.
So, when are those things?
North Dakota State Fair 2014 -- July 18 - 26
Red River Valley Fair 2014 -- July 8 - 13
4th of July Parade -- July 4th
Right now the deadline for submitting the petitions is early August. If this amendment is approved by the voters, the deadline will be 30 days earlier; so around July 5th or 6th or 7th, roughtly. So if this law is changed and you wanted to circulate your petitions to get an initiated measure on the November ballot, you would no longer be able to circulate your petitions at the State Fair or the Red River Valley Fair. You could still circulate your petitions at a big July 4th event, but you'd really have to have your ducks in a row to get them filed.
So why move the deadline up 30 days?!?
To make it harder for the citizens of North Dakota to pull the reins in on their corrupt, unresponsive government.
Will Al Jaeger or some other Republican have some bullshit reason they think the deadline should be moved up 30 days? Sure. "It'll make flowers smell prettier." Or "You can still get petitions signed at the State Fair; you can just make sure you get started a year earlier."
But keep in mind that those are just bullshit. The real reason is our state government is doing everything they can to take power away from the people. See, if when the people get so fed up with our state government because of its refusal to do what we want them to do, the initiated measure process is all we have left. That's what they're trying to take away from us; or ar trying to make hard or impossible.
So what about the part about "providing a timeline for challenges filed with the Supreme Court?" you ask. Let's talk about that.
Here are the relevant changes the Ruling Oligarchy wants to make:
SECTION 2. AMENDMENT. Section 6 of article III of the Constitution of North Dakota is amended and reenacted as follows:
Section 6. [I've taken some gibberish out here, but you can read it by clicking on the word "source" below ]
...If proceedings are brought against any petition upon any ground, the burden of proof shall beis upon the party attacking it and the proceedings must be filed with the supreme court no later than seventy - five days before the date of the statewide election at which the measure is to be voted upon.
SECTION 3. AMENDMENT. Section 7 of article III of the Constitution of North Dakota is amended and reenacted as follows:
Section 7. All decisions of the secretary of state in the petition process are subject to review by the supreme court in the exercise of original jurisdiction. A proceeding to review a decision of the secretary of state must be filed with the supreme court no later than seventy-five days before the date of the statewide election at which the measure is to be voted upon.
[More gibberish removed here]
(Source) (stricken words will be removed; underlined words added)
What does this mean?
I'm going to make this short, because this blog post is already getting too long. But if you have questions, let me know.
What this means is that if Al Jaeger rejects your petition signatures, you might have less than 24 hours to hire a lawyer, explain the situation to that lawyer, and for the lawyer to write up the paperwork challenging Jaeger's bullshit decision. Notice the word "might" is bolded. You might have a little more time, but it's possible he could set you up to have less than 24 hours.
The bottom line is this: Your government leaders do not like the ballot initiative process because it takes power away from the Republican super-majority and gives it to the citizens of North Dakota. Measure One is a power grab by Al Jaeger and other Republicans in North Dakota who can't stand the idea that the Citizens still have some control in this state. Without the ballot initiative process, North Dakota would not have the oil extraction tax and huge surpluses we have now that should be (but aren't) being used to lessen the impacts of oil development in Western North Dakota, and to pay other bills. Those oil extraction taxes came about because of Measure 6 in 1980; something Democrats presented to the people because Republicans refused to act.
The next thing to look out for is the appropriation impact measure on the November ballot. That's a second knife in the People's backs.
Try to make North Dakota's government honest again. Vote "no" on June ballot measure #1.