For immediate release
September 7, 2022
Contact: Scott Tillman, U.S. Term Limits
Phone: (321) 345-7455
U.S. Term Limits Applauds the North Dakota Supreme Court Decision
Ordering Term Limits on the Ballot
Bismarck, ND — Term limits for the North Dakota state legislative assembly and the governor could be just around the corner. Today, the Supreme Court of North Dakota overturned a lower court decision and ordered the Secretary of State to place the term limits initiative on the November 2022 general election ballot.
Oral arguments were heard last Friday, in case 2022 ND 168, Jared Hendrix and North Dakota for Term Limits Sponsoring Committee vs Alvin Jaeger, North Dakota Secretary of State. The petition of writ mandamus was granted by Justice Tuft, on behalf of a unanimous court, in a written judgment filed today.
The opinion concluded that Jaeger misapplied the law when he excluded 15,740 signatures on the basis that a pattern of likely notary violations on some petitions permitted invalidation of all the signatures on all petitions sworn before the same notary. In other words, Jaeger improperly tossed out thousands of petitions validated by one notary because he imputed fraud on a portion of those submitted.
His unilateral decision nearly prevented the initiative from making the general election ballot in November.
According to the decision of the justices, “Jaeger acknowledged his office has never before invalidated all petitions from a single notary, and he cited no authority from any jurisdiction in which a class of documents relating to a notary had been invalidated as a result of notarial fraud or other misconduct.”
The number of valid petitions after this decision exceeds the number required to make the ballot.
“The Secretary of State invalidating all of the signatures on petitions notarized by Zeph Toe was a misapplication of law,” says Hendrix, chair of the initiative’s sponsoring committee.
Scott Tillman of U.S. Term Limits applauds today’s decision. “The North Dakota Secretary of State attempted to silence the voice of the people. Fortunately, justice prevailed. We look forward to the voters of North Dakota passing term limits on the state legislature and governor this November,” he said.
In a 2020 survey of term limits in North Dakota, an overwhelming 83% of the respondents want term limits on the governor, and 82% support term limits on the state lawmakers.
The measure, once passed, would take effect January 1, 2023, placing an eight-year limit on the governor, on members of the state senate, and on members of the state house. The limits would be prospective for each office and prior time of service would not be counted in the eight-year limit.
Currently, thirty-six states have some form of term limit on the office of governor. North Dakota is one of fourteen states that do not. There are fifteen states with term limits on the state legislature.
U.S. Term Limits is the largest grassroots term limits advocacy group in the country. We connect term limits supporters with their legislators and work to pass term limits on all elected officials, particularly on the U.S. Congress. Find out more at termlimits.org.
North Dakota for Term Limits is the sponsor of the term limits ballot initiative. The group is composed of grassroots citizens, as well as several former and current N.D. elected officials. Many are experienced legislators who understand the importance of term limiting their positions. To find out more and to get involved in the ballot initiative, visit http://northdakotafortermlimits.com.