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Special Interests Seek to Kill ND Amendment to Increase Election Security, Empower Voters, and End Gerrymandering

North Dakota Voters First has announced that their comprehensive better elections amendment that addresses elections security, voter choice, and gerrymandering all in one reform package has been certified for the November ballot.

Measure 3, as it will appear on the ballot in North Dakota, tackles a number of issues with the current electoral process. First, it would replace the current partisan primary system with a nonpartisan top-four primary in which all voters and candidates participate on a single primary ballot, and the top four vote-getters move on to the general election. 

Here is what that means:

  • From the beginning of the election, every qualified candidate in the election is part of the conversation -- major party, minor party, and independent;
  • In the most critical stage of the elections process, the playing field is leveled for all voters, as every registered citizen participates on a single ballot;
  • Voters who wish to vote for candidates of different political alignments in different offices can do so, rather than being restricted to the candidates of a single party. For instance, voters can cast a ballot for a Republican in one race and then an independent or third party candidate in another; and
  • Ultimately, it is the voters who decide who appears on the November ballot, which means they have greater control over the process.

Measure 3 would also add ranked choice voting to the general election to ensure majority winners, and requires voting machines to produce a paper record of every vote cast, requires timely audits, and gives military and overseas voters more time to receive and return ballots.

And, the amendment would also establish a nonpartisan redistricting process - eliminating party control over electoral maps.

“Measure 3 makes our elections more secure and helps prevent vote tampering and fraud, said Carol Sawicki, Chair of North Dakota Voters First. 

“Casting an informed vote is a responsibility of every citizen. Our state should honor that responsibility with a system that ensures all legal votes are counted and that we have the right security in place to trust the results.”

Opponents of Measure 3 were ready for the secretary of state to certify it for the ballot as almost immediately after a lawsuit was filed to overturn the measure's certification. The lawsuit alleges that the measure only presents some parts of the amendment rather than the whole thing as required by law.

North Dakota Voters First says the lawsuit is just an attempt by political insiders and lobbyists to deny voters the right to vote on the measure.

"This desperate lawsuit against our Secretary of State's decision is just going to waste our hard earned tax dollars," said Carol Sawicki, Chair of North Dakota Voters First and Fargo resident. "Drop the suit. Let the people vote. North Dakotans deserve more choices at the ballot box, not fewer."

As updates continue to come in, IVN will follow this story closely. Stay tuned.

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About the Author

Shawn Griffiths

Shawn is an election reform expert and National Editor of IVN.us. He studied history and philosophy at the University of North Texas. He joined the IVN team in 2012.

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