BISMARCK, ND – Today, Kelly Hall, Executive Director of Fairness Project, released the following statement after the “Protect North Dakota’s Constitution” campaign failed to qualify their effort to require a three-fifths supermajority at the ballot box in order to change the state Constitution:
Statement from Kelly Hall, Executive Director of Fairness Project:
“This is a huge victory for democracy in North Dakota, and across the country. We have been tracking and raising the alarm about this under-the-radar assault on direct democracy for months. Restricting the rights of citizens to govern themselves when their legislature fails to represent them is an undemocratic tactic we have seen spread from state to state as lawmakers selfishly guard their power and attempt to block access to ballot measures.
“Across the country, voters are in danger of losing an important state-based tool to advance progressive and popular policies that improve people’s lives. While this is an important victory in North Dakota, we must remain vigilant in protecting the ballot measure process.”
The campaign to limit access to the citizen-led initiatives submitted 33,624 signatures to get the measure on the ballot, but nearly 6,000 signatures were deemed invalid, bringing the campaign below the required threshold to advance the measure.
The Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign, run by Fairness Project, is a $5 million effort to fight back against state legislative efforts to shut down people-powered ballot measures that have been critical to improving the lives of millions in recent years.
The BMRC focuses on states like North Dakota attempting to make ballot measures inaccessible across the country. In South Dakota and Arkansas, legislatures are also trying to redefine the meaning of majority rule, proposing legislation that similarly requires 60% of voters to approve a ballot measure for it to take effect.
In 2021 alone, there were at least 93 bills introduced by Republican state legislatures that would make passing ballot measures more difficult. Thirteen of those bills passed in Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Arkansas, and South Dakota. So far this year, another 28 such bills already have been introduced by Republicans.