Proposed Initiated Measure Would Create Constitutional Prohibition on Non-Citizens Voting in North Dakota Elections

This afternoon Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s office sent out a press release announcing that an initiated measure had been filed.

You can read the proposed measure and other documentation below, but it’s really pretty simple. Here’s the changes it would make to Article II of the North Dakota Constitution (click for a larger view):

I was a little confused, but I assumed state law already prohibits non-citizens from voting in the state. So I called the chairman of the committee sponsoring the measure. Gary Emineth, who is also running as a Republican for a Bismarck-area state Senate seat, told me that state law already has this prohibition in place. The reason for the measure is that the sponsoring committee feels there is “ambiguity in the way the constitution reads.”

“While there’s state law, state laws can change,” he added.

He said there has been a push in other parts of the country to let illegals vote. That’s true, it seems. In Vermont, for example, at least one city has looked at allowing non-citizens to vote in local elections. I don’t know that there has been any sort of a similar push in North Dakota, though.

This is going to be a tough lift on collecting signatures, though. The threshold is 26,904 signatures by July 9. That’s less than two months away. The Secretary of State now has until May 21 to approve the petition title. After that there’s a process for finalizing the petitions themselves. All of that has to happen before a single signature can even be collected.

I’d say the odds are long for even getting this issue on the ballot.

Here’s the full proposed measure:

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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