Print Column: Deep Pocketed Interests Routinely Buy Their Way Onto North Dakota’s Ballot

Criticize North Dakota’s initiated measure laws, the process whereby citizens can collect signatures and enact policy directly through a vote, and you’ll be targeted for scorn and personal attacks.

There are many in North Dakota and beyond who believe that initiated measures are a purer form of democracy than what we get from the Legislature where evil lobbyists and well-monied interests hold sway.

This is a fairy tale.

While lawmakers are certainly lobbied, and while all sorts of interests throw their weight around in Bismarck when the Legislature is in session, if you’re concerned about powerful interests having undue influence over policy the initiated measure process has problems which cannot be ignored.

Interests with deep pockets routinely buy their way onto the statewide ballot in North Dakota, completely bypassing the legislative process with all the checks and balances from multiple chambers and multiple branches of government incumbent to it.

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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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