Ban on Non-Citizen Voting Approved for North Dakota’s Ballot

Gary Emineth Photo by Tim Albrecht/Grand Forks Herald

A constitutional amendment which would explicitly ban non-citizen voting has been approved for North Dakota’s ballot according to a release from the Secretary of State’s office which you can read in full below.

It’s a fairly simple policy proposal. Here are the changes it would make to Article II, Section 1 of the state constitution (click for a larger view):

This is the second measure to be officially qualified for the ballot. Last month a measure to create an ethics commission was approved. Measures to legalize recreational marijuana and to create a special license plate for first responders are still under review.

As you can see from the disclosures filed with the Secretary of State’s office, this petition circulating which put this measure on the ballot was funded by two large donations from sponsoring committee chairman Gary Emineth (who is also a Republican candidate for the state Senate in Bismarck) and the Liberty Initiative Fund in Virginia.

Most of the contributed money went to pay professional signature collectors. Which has become a common theme for ballot measures in North Dakota.

The whole point of the initiated measure process was to enable citizen activists. What it’s become is a way for interests with deep pockets to short circuit the legislative process by buying their way onto the ballot.

I don’t have a problem with what this measure does, but I’m deeply uncomfortable (as I was with the so-called ethics commission measure) with the way it was put on the ballot.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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