N.D. POLITICS: Triplett/Weiler YouTube video backs Measure 1
BISMARCK -- A bipartisan duo backing North Dakota's Measure 1, the oil trust fund measure, has made a video for YouTube. Sen. Connie Triplett, D-Grand Forks, and Rep. Dave Weiler, R-Bismarck, appear in the 2-minute video, recorded on the Capitol ...
BISMARCK -- A bipartisan duo backing North Dakota's Measure 1, the oil trust fund measure, has made a video for YouTube.
Sen. Connie Triplett, D-Grand Forks, and Rep. Dave Weiler, R-Bismarck, appear in the 2-minute video, recorded on the Capitol lawn this past summer. Weiler is in shorts.
Weiler was a sponsor of the resolution during the session and is chairman of the committee campaigning for its passage.
If voters approve it Nov. 4, the state Constitution will put most of the Permanent Oil Tax Trust Fund off-limits to routine state spending.
Sponsors, who call the measure a "permanent promise," said it will ensure the state won't be caught short when the oil boom ends.
A link to the video and supporters' other information is at www.measure1nd.com , or go directly to the video at www.youtube.com/watch?v5BcBbyl9OGY .
Measure 1 opponents, "Partners to Protect North Dakota's Future," has a similarly named Web site, www.ndmeasures2008.com and will announce their media campaign today.
The same groups also oppose the income tax cut issue, Measure 2.
A must-go event
Wednesday is one of the most important events of this year's (or any year's) North Dakota political campaigns -- Sauerkraut Day in Wishek.
Held every second Wednesday in October, it's now in its 83rd year.
For many politicians and candidates, it's an event that can't be missed.
The free meal of sauerkraut, wieners and mashed potatoes is put on by the Wishek Association of Commerce to celebrate the area's Germans-from-Russia heritage.
By at least one account, it drew an estimated 1,100 or more people last year, pretty good for a mid-day, mid-week celebration.
The Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce recently demanded an explanation from Barack Obama's campaign about a remark Obama's running mate is heard making in a video posted on YouTube ( www.youtube.com/watch?v7rXyTRT-NZg ). Sen. Joe Biden seems to be speaking against coal plants and clean coal technology, chamber President Kelvin Hullet said.
Noting that 75 percent of the upper Midwest's electricity is coal-fired and the coal and power-plant industry is an important one for the state's economy and budget, Hullet called on North Dakota's congressional delegation -- all Democrats -- to clarify Obama's stance.
He got his answer Thursday, when Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., sent a statement saying he'd talked to Obama, who "reaffirmed his support for clean coal as part of his overall energy plan."
The group sponsoring Measure 2, the North Dakota income tax cut on the Nov. 4 ballot, is questioning Al Jaeger's recent ruling on absentee ballot applications.
The state Republican Party had mailed absentee ballot applications to party faithful missing blanks for voters' dates of birth and driver's license numbers, which now are required by state election law.
But Jaeger asked county auditors to accept the applications, anyway.
Dustin Gawrylow of Americans For Prosperity says Jaeger is being inconsistent by deciding to let that legal irregularity slide.
A few weeks ago, Jaeger told Gawrylow's group that he had to stick to the letter of the law and describe their income tax measure on the ballot in a way that points out mistakes in the measure that sponsors consider mere typos.
But Jaeger said there is a consistency in his actions -- the well-being of voters.
They need to be told that irregularities in the tax measure's wording could affect some of them differently and in the case of the ballot applications, he didn't want to see voters punished for something that wasn't their fault.
Almost 34,000 North Dakotans have received absentee ballots for next month's general election, and more than 2,300 people have already marked them, Secretary of State Al Jaeger said.
A newly created central voter database allows for statewide record-keeping of when absentee ballots are sent to voters, and when the finished ballot is returned, Jaeger said Friday. Ballots for the Nov. 4 election have been available since Sept. 25.
"All we're doing is ... taking information that was public before, and having it centralized in one location," Jaeger said. "That's why we are able to track it now, where we couldn't do that before."
In November 2004, of the 316,049 people who voted, 51,116 did so before Election Day, which represented 16.2 percent of the turnout.
As of Thursday, county auditors had issued 33,654 absentee ballots, Jaeger said.
Several counties are also setting up precincts to allow residents to vote early, a process that requires less paperwork than requesting an absentee ballot.
North Dakota's Democratic and Republican political parties are encouraging their supporters to vote early, and are keeping close track of absentee ballot applications, Jaeger said.
Cole reports for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Herald. This report includes material from The Asssociated Press.