NEXT UP, SMOKING: Now that voters in North Dakota have rendered their decisions on religious freedom, property taxes and the Fighting Sioux nickname, what's next? Apparently, smoking. A group called Smoke Free North Dakota submitted a measure to ban smoking in all indoor workplaces, including bars, as well as in outdoor stadiums. The ban would also extend to e-cigarettes, which produce an odorless vapor that contains nicotine. The initiative's backers will need to gather at least 13,452 signatures by Aug. 8 to get the issue on the November ballot, but we doubt that will be a problem. The same arguments will be made on both sides of the issue, with supporters pointing out that other states have adopted similar bans, and opponents arguing that businesses should be allowed to make the smoking or non-smoking decisions themselves, based on what their customers want. Much like the Fighting Sioux issue, the attempt to ban smoking in bars isn't going away anytime soon. If this initiative doesn't make it on the ballot or is rejected by voters, there will no doubt be another attempt in the near future. We hope the issue gets on the November ballot, and the voters of North Dakota get the chance to voice their opinion.
WHERE ARE THE VOTERS? We're disappointed that Ward County produced one of the lowest voter turnout rates in the state for this past week's primary election. Only 24.6 percent of the county's eligible voters cast ballots on Tuesday, while 32.9 percent of eligible voters statewide cast their ballots. Sheridan County had the highest rate, at 55.7 percent. There weren't many contested races locally, which perhaps contributed to Ward County's low turnout. We understand that people are busy, but we still expected better than 25 percent of voters to exercise their right to have their voices heard.