MINOT, N.D. — Measure 1, approved by 54 percent of North Dakota voters this last week, is a clear example of the deep flaws in legislating at the ballot box.
I don’t blame busy voters, inundated with messaging from a myriad of campaigns, for approving the measure. Most of them probably heard little about it outside of some vague assertions that it was an “anti-corruption” or “ethics” amendment to our state constitution.
Who wants to vote for corruption? Or against ethics?
I’m surprised the vote total for this policy atrocity was as low as it was.
The problem with initiated measures is they often ask voters to enact complicated policy based mostly on what little the gleaned about the proposal from campaign ads.
This is a poor way to make public policy. Let alone amend our state constitution.
In the case of Measure 1, the proposal now tasks lawmakers with creating an ethics commission populated with political appointees (the same sort of committee which is more often a venue for political food-fighting than accountability in other states) and instituting restrictions on political activities which are unconstitutional.
That’s right, ladies and gentleman. The campaign behind Measure 1, funded by big-money donations from Hollywood activists and left-wing groups, has inspired North Dakota voters to put something unconstitutional in their state constitution.