MINOT, N.D. — In 1935, a Democrat named Thomas H. Moodie was the Governor of North Dakota.
But only for a few weeks.
He was inaugurated on Jan. 7 of that year, but by Feb. 16 had been removed from office by the state Supreme Court.
It turns out Moodie, who spent most of his life working in the newspaper industry, had lived in Minnesota at one point during the five years previous to being elected governor and had cast a vote in that state in a municipal election.
North Dakota’s constitution — Article V, section 4 specifically — requires that those wishing to hold statewide elected office must have five years of residency in the state before taking office.
Moodie “removing to Minneapolis and establishing a voting residence there deprived him of his legal residence in North Dakota during the time he was in Minneapolis and it necessarily follows that he was not a resident of NorthDakota for the five years next preceding the election,” the state Supreme Court found in a unanimous ruling.
Why does this matter in 2020?