On July 6, North Dakota Voters First submitted more than 36,000 signatures to state officials as part of their statewide ballot measure campaign that would, among other reforms, implement ‘Top-4’ open primaries with ranked choice voting (RCV) general elections.
BREAKING: Our campaign just submitted over 36,000 signatures to the North Dakota Secretary of State to ensure our measure to put North Dakota voters first makes the ballot! #ndpol pic.twitter.com/kB8AYBNJwO— North Dakota Voters First (@NDVotersFirst) July 6, 2020
The 36,000 signatures–far more than the 26,904 signature threshold to ensure qualification—will now be reviewed by North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger. If his office approves the requisite amount of signatures, all North Dakotans will have the opportunity to vote on the measure in November.
“There is a powerful appetite here in North Dakota for putting power in the hands of the citizens.” Nicole Donaghy, board member of North Dakota Voters First, said in a press release. “We intend to capture that and build momentum for the measure as we head to the election in November.”
In the midst of the global pandemic, the organization—a nonpartisan grassroots coalition of conservatives, progressives, and moderates working to better North Dakota’s elections—had to get creative to ensure it collected enough signatures.
“The effort was made more challenging due to COVID-19,” said Carol Sawicki, chair of North Dakota Voters First. “It was necessary to implement social distancing and safety protocols to protect the health of both community members and staff, but that did not hinder our success.”
If passed in November, the ballot measure would establish open primaries—with the top four vote-getters advancing to a RCV general election in November. Their proposed ballot measure would also reform the legislative redistricting, election audit, and overseas voting processes.
North Dakota Voters First’s efforts mark the latest success in a series of RCV-focused ballot measures sweeping the country. Voters in Alaska, Massachusetts, and Arkansas (as well as cities like Albany, CA and Eureka, CA) may have the opportunity to adopt the method via referendum in November
We are thrilled to see statewide groups attempt to expand the reach of RCV across the country, and will keep you updated as Secretary of State Jaeger’s office makes a final determination on this ballot measure.
Photo Credit: Justin Meissen