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Petition OK'd for circulation for sweeping North Dakota election changes

Petition OK'd for circulation for sweeping North Dakota election changes

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North Dakota state Capitol

The North Dakota state Capitol in Bismarck is offset by flowers in full bloom in June 2018.

North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger has approved for circulation a petition seeking to reshape several aspects of North Dakota elections by a public vote this fall.

The measure proposes a new constitutional amendment outlining processes for military and overseas voters, election audits, open primaries, instant runoff elections, legislative redistricting by the new Ethics Commission and subdivision of House legislative districts. Its text fills three pages. Supporters submitted the petition format to Jaeger in March. 

Proposal submitted to reform North Dakota elections

Now they need at least 26,904 signatures of qualified voters submitted by July 6 to put the measure on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

The measure would leave the drawing of legislative districts to North Dakota's Ethics Commission, which voters approved in 2018. The commission would hold public hearings and take comments on legislative districts.

North Dakota has 47 legislative districts, which the Legislature redraws every 10 years. Each district has one senator and two representatives.

Two measures from the 2019 Legislature will be on the ballot, related to expanding membership and terms for North Dakota's State Board of Higher Education and to involving the Legislature in passing constitutional initiatives.

Other proposed ballot initiatives seek to legalize marijuana and eliminate property taxes.

Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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