Group turns in signatures for redistricting reform measure
FARGO (AP) — A group looking to reform voting redistricting rules in North Dakota said Monday it has collected enough signatures to get the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot in November.
Officials with North Dakota Voters First said they submitted 36,708 signatures to Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s office. The group must obtain nearly 27,000 valid signatures from North Dakota voters in order to qualify for the ballot.
The leader of the group, Carol Sawicki, of Fargo, said the effort was challenging because volunteers were forced to implement social distancing and safety protocols because of the coronavirus pandemic. A federal judge refused to waive the state’s ban on gathering electronic signatures for a ballot measure.
The group’s constitutional amendment would transfer the responsibility of drawing political districts from the Legislature to the voter-approved state Ethics Commission. It also would create a paper record for every vote cast in an election, create open primaries and instant runoff elections. It also would extend the time to cast a ballot for military and overseas voters.
Nicole Donaghy, of Bismarck, a board member of North Dakota Voters First, said it should be voters and not lawmakers who have the responsibility of drawing district lines.