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Letter: With term limits in place, is a challenge possible?

While I don’t necessarily oppose term limits in and of themselves, I opposed this measure in the form in which it was presented to the voters.

Letter to the editor FSA
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A majority of North Dakota voters recently said yes to a constitutional amendment which was on the general election ballot. This measure enshrines term limits for the governor and members of the Legislative Assembly into the North Dakota Constitution.

For the record, I voted no on Measure 1. The reason being, in my layman’s opinion, and I am not an attorney nor a legal expert, I believe this measure is constitutionally flawed. The reason why I believe it is flawed is because a measure should only address one subject. Measure 1, while addressing the single subject of term limits, will affect two completely different and separate branches of government, the executive and the legislative.

Accordingly, the argument could be made that imposing term limits upon the executive branch and imposing term limits upon the legislative branch could be interpreted as two completely different subjects being affected by the same measure. I believe this measure could be challenged in court, alleging that Measure 1 is unconstitutional.

While I don’t necessarily oppose term limits in and of themselves, I opposed this measure in the form in which it was presented to the voters. I believe this measure does not go far enough. If North Dakotans want term limits, then said limits should apply equally across the board. It is my opinion that term limits should affect all of North Dakota’s elected constitutional officers (governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and so forth) as well as members of the Legislative Assembly.

Another question which occurred to me was this. In North Dakota, the governor and lieutenant governor are elected as a team. In other words, the candidates for governor and lieutenant governor do not appear separately on the ballot. It is my contention that under the circumstances, the governor cannot be singled out for term limits. It seems to me that this measure should have included the lieutenant governor for term limits as well.

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I am also concerned that this initiated constitutional amendment was brought about at the behest of an out-of-state special interest group. U.S. Term Limits enlisted several willing North Dakota residents to sponsor the measure. The measure was sold to a low information public, and it passed rather easily.

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