The county commission proposes, but the people should dispose of the measure to take away the right of Burleigh County voters to choose the county Auditor/Treasurer. It’s a common syndrome that elected officials come to believe that they’re smarter than the public, maybe proven by the fact that the public elected them.
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North Dakota was and might still be the most small “d” democratic state in the Union. Our ancestors battled against machine politics and gave the people the right to initiate laws, to refer laws, to change the constitution, to recall bad officeholders and to elect many state and local officials. We limit the powers of government, telling the legislature it has do its work in 80 days and go home. Our governor governs a lot of things, but we elect people to regulate insurance, promote agriculture, set utility rates and much more. Those democratic ideals are under attack, most seriously by the state 2019 legislature which proposed changes seriously infringing the rights of the people to amend the constitution by initiated measure. Fortunately, the constitution still gives us the right to say “NO” to limiting our rights.
Much less serious, but still important and as a matter of principle, Burleigh County voters should say “NO” to giving up their right to elect the Auditor. The position needs to be independent and objective. The Auditor should not owe his or her job to the county commissioners. The Auditor doesn’t work for them. The Auditor works for the people of the county. Let’s keep it that way.
Tracy Potter, Bismarck
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