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ND Supreme Court removes election reform measure from November ballot

Measure 3 sought sweeping reforms to elections and legislative redistricting
Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 2:45 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -The North Dakota Supreme Court on Tuesday voted to keep off a controversial ballot measure from appearing before voters on November 3 after a group filed a lawsuit.

In a unanimous decision, the supreme court prevented North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger from allowing residents to vote on Measure 3, which sought to amend the state’s constitution.

Brighter Future Alliance, a conservative group, filed a lawsuit on August 12 seeking to remove Measure 3.

“There’s pretty clear law here in North Dakota and they didn’t follow it,” Lacee Anderson, legal spokeswoman for Brighter Future Alliance, said. " And so we think this was the right decision and we’re obviously very pleased with the court ruling today.”

The group behind Measure 3 is North Dakota Voters First and they sought to modernize the state’s election system by proposing five changes to the constitution.

They included extending the voting window for deployed military members to send in their mail-in ballots from 46 days to 60 days before an election and doing away with the primary system by party, opting instead for open primaries.

Yet as we reported in June, the secretary of state received complaints that petitioners with North Dakota Voters First were being dishonest in collecting signatures.

“I would not say that there’s anything deceptive happening at all on our side,” Amy Jacobson of North Dakota Voters First told us on June 18.

Anderson of Brighter Future Alliance said that the left-wing group was trying to hoodwink voters.

“At the end of the day, if they’re not being told the truth up front, how are they going to know what they’re voting on? And that’s our whole point behind it,” Anderson said.

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Measure 3 “does not comply with the constitutional requirement that it contain the full text of the measure.” This means voters reading their ballot were only going to see a portion of the changes Measure 3 was seeking.

“This wasn’t a grassroots North Dakota effort. This was from out of state, they didn’t even know that we don’t have voter registration here,” Anderson said.

North Dakota is the only state which does not require some form of voter registration.

Records we obtained showed the majority of the funding for North Dakota Voters First came from groups in Colorado, Texas, and Massachusetts.

We reached out to North Dakota Voters First for a response, but we have not heard back yet as of this publication.

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