August 7, 2010 at 7:00 pm in INFORUM
There is good news and bad news regarding ballot measures on the November ballot in North Dakota. Continue Reading
Tags: Editorials, nd ballot measures, november ballot, Opinion 3 Comments »
It would be a shame if the pharmacy ownership measure has to be left off the ballot because of a clerical error. While I certainly understand that the letter of the law must be followed, certainly there must be a way for the organizers of North Dakotans for Affordable Healthcare to be allowed to attach the names of the sponsoring committee members to each of the petition signature booklets (some 526 of them) that were turned into the secretary of state.
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What is the purpose of this requirement to have the sponsoring committee members attached to each petition? I would guess the reason is so that people signing the petition are informed of who is behind this petition. Attaching the names afterwards and then sending them in is likely not good enough. Sounds like they might have been attached before the petitions where signed and later got seperated, but how do you prove that? The question seems to be, is this a simple clerical error or was this a procedural error with no easy way to prove the answer.
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That’s just it. There really is no way to prove what happened. This boils down to a classic “it’s your word against mine” thing.
If this weren’t an election year, I have a feeling that North Dakotans for Affordable Healthcare would get the benefit of the doubt. However, since both Al Jaeger the Secretary of State, and Wayne Stenehjem the attorney general are both running for re-election to their respective offices during this election cycle; I rather think that they are going to side with the letter of the law. Neither Al or Wayne want to show any outward favortism of any kind and appear completely neutral.
The law in North Dakota requires complete disclosure. North Dakota prides itself on being an open government, open records state. There can be no secrets. That is precisely the reason why the names and addresses of each of the 25 official sponsors of a ballot measure must appear on each petition set.
At this point, I’m hopeful it will be as simple as the campaign being allowed to “amend or correct” the petition sets by attaching the names of the sponsoring committee members to each petition set (some 526 of them that were filed) and call it good.
However, the letter of the law would demand that the petitions which were filed be declared null and void and the organization will have to start the process all over again. That means the earliest this measure could come before the voters would be during the 2012 electon cycle. I really do feel bad for the people at North Dakotans for Affordable Healthcare. All the time, effort and money that have been spent on this thing all get shot to heck in one fell swoop.
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