State constitution changes shouldn’t be an easy process

It seems some in the state Legislature have the desire to strip the public of its easy rights to collect signatures and have items placed on the ballot to amend the constitution, and then see those items actually passed.

Despite the seeming similarity, there is a significant difference when it comes to reform ideas.

Without naming names since advocates haven’t gone to the effort to pitch their perspectives to statewide media including Minot Daily News, MDN has two distinct opinions on discussions in Bismarck.

MDN has previously and consistently opposed any attempt to make it more difficult for citizen initiatives to be placed on the ballot. MDN remains so committed.

Any attempt to create additional hurdles for citizen initiatives on the ballot are anathema to MDN principles, to the desire of the public and to a free society in general. Advocates of making it harder for actual taxpayers to get constitutional changes on a statewide ballot should be called out, should be voted out of office and have no business pretending to represent the public. Imperious behavior should be met with a pink slip from voters.

That said, citizen initiative management is complex.

While creating hurdles to items making the ballot, proposals to raise the standard for actual constitutional changes are well worth considering. This is particularly so of suggestions to require 60 percent of voters to approve constitutional changes as opposed to 50 percent is well worth considering.

The nation’s Founding Fathers believed it should take considerable unity on the issue of changing the U.S. Constitution to make it happen. Thus the challenge to amending the document. Based on their wisdom, it only makes sense for a super-majority of some sort to make such a change. Why should our state have a lower bar? Changing the constitution should not require a simple majority vote. In today’s polarized political world, such a dramatic change should require a super-majority of some sort.

It’s a discussion well worth having.

Such major changes should require more than a majority. Many make the mistake of thinking that the U.S. is a democracy. It is not. This is a representative republic. Another term for direct democracy is mob rule. Our system prevents that. That approach should extend to North Dakota.

MDN recommends watching the exact language of voter initiative “reform.” Some is meant to strip voters of their right to have items placed on the ballot. Others are simply to preserve the integrity of the constitution.

There is a difference.

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