WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published June 08, 2012, 09:06 PM

ND Constitutional Measures Explained

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Election day is fast approaching. Poll workers and voters alike say the most confusing aspect of the upcoming primary are the four statewide measures on the ballot.

By: Stacie Van Dyke, WDAZ

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Election day is fast approaching. Poll workers and voters alike say the most confusing aspect of the upcoming primary are the four statewide measures on the ballot.

The first time many people will see Measure 1 is on the ballot. It's the most obscure of all four measures, but you've probably seen it before. It was voted down in 2008.

"There are people in government who are knowledgeable about areas and they're not able to serve," UND Political Science professor Dr. Robert Wood said.

A "yes" vote on Measure 1 would allow legislators to hold a full-time government office, which they're not currently allowed to do. Many fear that there aren't enough safeguards in place to stop corruption.

"People would just give jobs to their friends and there would just be this rotating ladder where they would just generate a lot of money, but there are provisions in the ballot measure that would stop that," Wood said.

Moving on to Measure 2, a "yes" vote here would make North Dakota the first state in the nation to abolish property taxes.

"The big negative controversy is the uncertainty," Wood said.

Uncertainty hinging on how the funding hole would be filled, spawning ads created by groups opposed to giving state government the power to fund local government.

"The measure does require the legislature to provide the same amount of money they would receive in property taxes," Wood said.

The biggest concern with Measure 3 is the ballot language, offering government support for religious beliefs.

"This would almost unquestionably make it unlawful for government to restrict polygamy or the use of marijuana because I know there are established religions that make use of both of those," Wood said.

Some groups argue that religious freedom protection could expand to justify things like domestic violence and child abuse

Finally, Measure 4, where you have the option of choosing whether or not UND will keep the Fighting Sioux nickname after being told to retire it by the NCAA.

The measure got on the ballot after supporters gathered the required 13,500 signatures in favor of the nickname. Many have publicly spoken out against the name, including the North Dakota Board of Higher Education, Attorney General and many affiliated with the university.

"I think it would be extremely damaging to all of the other sports on our campus," UND men's hockey coach Dave Hakstol said.

"It's their house, we have to abide by their rules," Wood said.

But no matter which way the vote goes, the issues will likely be back on the November ballot if supporters gather 27,000 signatures by August 8, which they say will happen.

Wood says usually only 20 percent of eligible voters turn out for summer elections like this, so theoretically only 60,000 voters state-wide would pass or reject a measure.

Tags: