ND Secretary of State is Target of Lawsuit over Term Limits Measure
Bismarck and Williston, ND (KEYZ) North Dakota's Secretary of State is the target of a lawsuit seeking to force a vote for term limits onto the November 2022 ballot.
The group, North Dakota For Term Limits, filed a 491-page lawsuit Friday, August 12, 2022 with the North Dakota State Supreme Court asking the justices to compel Secretary of State Alvin Jaeger to place the measure on the ballot.
The suit challenges Jaeger’s disqualification of tens of thousands of valid signatures from residents seeking a statewide vote on term limits; it states that the number of signatures submitted was sufficient and in November North Dakotans should be voting on term limits for Governor, State Senate and State House.
Jaeger referred petitions for the measure to Attorney General Drew Wrigley in March after rejecting about 29-thousand signatures because of alleged violations of state laws. The lawsuit alleges that Jaeger's decisions were arbitrary and not supported by the law. Only about 17-thousand of the more than 46-thousand signatures collected were accepted.
In a release Monday, August 15, 2022, the North Dakota For Term Limits Committee also points to Jaeger's violation of legal precedents established by the North Dakota Supreme Court in his disqualifying of thousands of voter signatures.
“It will be shown that the Secretary of State disqualified thousands of signatures in violation of legal precedents established by the North Dakota Supreme Court," said North Dakota For Term Limits Committee Chair Jared Hendrix. "These included incidents where Jaeger struck down signatures from North Dakota residents who signed the petition but might have had poor handwriting, omitted a street direction like NW or S, gave a post office box address, or listed a college dormitory as their residence.”
Hendrix added that "the State Supreme Court has ruled previously that signatures are valid if the elector (i.e. the petition signer) has ‘substantially complied’ with relevant statutes. It appears Jaeger jettisoned this standard, instead imposing his own ‘strict compliance’ standard which left no room for minor human error."
The battle between the grassroots movement and the Secretary of State is also drawing a watchful eye closer to home.
In Williams County, District 23 GOP Chairman Cole Kratochvil said "the lawsuit, what it's really gotten down to, is some of the signatures have been deemed not acceptable for various reasons that don't seem to be correct at face value."
Kratochvil, who is also a member of the North Dakota For Term Limits Committee, tells News Radio the desire for term limits in North Dakota crosses party lines.
"There's huge support for it amongst Republicans and Democrats; this is a very bipartisan deal. We have large support across the board. It's not a Republican or a Democrat issue. Term limits are accepted and wanted by everyone it seems."
To view the complete scope of the lawsuit filed by North Dakota For Term Limits, the "Petition For Writ of Mandamus," click here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/vkrd8ejqo8cl35w/AABu2FRE6KGvQuocYel4t1FQa?dl=0