North Dakota for term limits committee files lawsuit against secretary of state

Photo by: WDAY Radio Staff
Photo by: WDAY Radio Staff

(Bismarck, ND) -- In the wake of cannabis legislation being put on the November ballot this fall, the leaders of the push for term limits for North Dakota lawmakers are taking a stand.

The North Dakota Term Limits Committee has announced it is filing a lawsuit against Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s disqualification of tens of thousands of valid signatures from residents seeking a statewide vote on term limits. The lawsuit states that the number of signatures submitted was sufficient and in November North Dakotans should be voting on term limits for Governor, State Senate and State House.

“Our committee has complied fully with state law and submitted a sufficient number of signatures to the Secretary of State,” said Jared Hendrix, the North Dakota Term limits Chair. “The Secretary of State violated existing legal precedent in disqualifying the signatures. We are confident that the State Supreme Court will see this and require the proposal to be placed on the November ballot."

The lawsuit was filed with the North Dakota State Supreme Court.

“It will be shown that the Secretary of State disqualified thousands of signatures in violation of legal precedents established by the North Dakota Supreme Court" said Hendrix. "These included incidents where Jaeger struck down signatures from North Dakota residents who signed the petition but might have had poor handwriting, omitted a street direction like NW or S, gave a post office box address, or listed a college dormitory as their residence.”

The proposed legislation would allow residents to vote on applying two, four-year term limits to the North Dakota Governor, State House and State Senate.

“The State Supreme Court has ruled previously that signatures are valid if the elector, or petition signer, has ‘substantially complied’ with relevant statutes. It appears Jaeger jettisoned this standard, instead imposing his own ‘strict compliance’ standard which left no room for minor human error,” added Hendrix.