Devil in the details of Measure 3

Charissa Rubey, Cayuga

Like many people around the country, North Dakotan’s are just trying to get by one more day without losing it. We keep our heads down and are happy that we chose not to flee the North Dakota winters (as we all swear to do every February).

We love that were far removed from most of the Big “crazy” sweeping our country. Our population is relatively spread out, helping to minimize the number of COVID cases and we do not have any mega cities that seem to be the epicenter of current rioting and mayhem. So, when someone recently mentioned to me “hey, have you read Measure 3 yet?” I was like, um, no, I have lots of other way more important stuff to deal with, like making sure my business keeps running as smoothly as possible during the Zombie Apocalypse.

Then I realized, I cannot abandon my civic duty just because things are messy right now; so, like a good voter, I pulled up the language of Measure 3. The first thing I noticed is that the actual text was almost impossible to locate, this frustrated me right out of the gate. At first glance, it seems innocuous – increasing voting from 46 to 61 days for our military oversees. Sounds OK. Then I realized that was just one part of a multi-line measure that contained totally unrelated provisions.

The two that caught my eye the most were 1) that congressional districts would no longer be decided by our elected officials but by a newly created “ethics committee” that wasn’t elected, but appointed, and 2) North Dakota would switch to a “ranked” voting system.

Now I don’t know about you, but both of these things are HUGE and should not be hidden under language that talks about improving voting for our oversees military families. I’ve talked to over a dozen people who signed the petition in support of Measure 3 and every single one thought it was only to increase the military voting window, they had zero idea of the rest of the provision in the Measure.

It scares me that I almost missed this. I almost let this entire thing pass me by and wouldn’t have had a clue about Measure 3 until I went to vote, and then I would have been largely in the dark about its full impact.


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