North Dakota has a fairly low threshold for referring a law, roughly 13,500 signatures statewide, and with most citizens willing to sign pretty much any petition put in front of them getting the requisite signatures usually isn’t too hard.
But petitions to refer North Dakota’s pro-life laws are thousands of signatures short of the number they need by the deadline on Monday, and they probably aren’t going to make it:
BISMARCK, N.D. — Backers of petitions seeking to give voters an opportunity to repeal three of North Dakota’s strict new abortion laws say they are falling short of their signature goals.
Each of the three petitions needs at least 13,452 valid signatures from North Dakota voters to qualify for a statewide vote.
Committee chairman Gary Hangsleben of Grand Forks says each of the petitions is at least 2,000 signatures short and it’s doubtful that they’ll be gathered by the midnight Monday deadline.
It’s worth remembering that even petitions that get all the signatures they need can have a tough time at the ballot. A measure to abolish property taxes, and a measure to keep the University of North Dakota’s “Fighting Sioux” logo and nickname both made the ballot but were soundly defeated by voters.
That these measures can’t even get the signatures they need to make ballots speaks loudly, I think, of the sentiments most North Dakotans have toward abortion. Which is no doubt why the state’s only abortion clinic shunned this petition effort in favor of filing lawsuits.
They know that a vote of the North Dakota people would likely have affirmed these laws.