Sponsors of North Dakota initiative to create term limits for the governor and state legislators submit 46,000 signatures

Sponsors of a North Dakota initiative to create term limits for the governor and state legislators submitted 46,000 signatures on Feb. 15, 2022. To qualify for the ballot, 31,164 valid signatures are required. The Secretary of State has until March 22, 2022, to certify whether the measure will appear on the November 8 ballot.

The measure would amend the state constitution to limit the governor to serving two terms. It would limit state legislators to serving eight years in the state House and eight years in the state Senate. A member of the House or Senate would not be able to serve a term or remaining portion of a term if it would cause the legislator to have served a cumulative time of more than eight years in the chamber. The measure would only apply to individuals elected after the amendment is approved. The initiative would only allow provisions of the amendment to be amended through citizen initiative petitions and not through legislatively referred constitutional amendments.

Fifteen states have term limits for state legislators. Six other states had term limits which were later overturned by state supreme courts in four of the states and repealed by state legislatures in two of the states.

Proponents of one other 2022 initiative are currently collecting signatures. The measure would require a three-fifths (60%) supermajority vote to adopt citizen-initiated and legislatively referred constitutional amendments and would limit constitutional amendments to concern a single subject. Proponents have until April 22, 2022, to submit 31,164 valid signatures to qualify for the November 2022 ballot.

A total of 53 measures appeared on statewide ballots in North Dakota from 2000 to 2020, of which, 58.49% (31 of 53) were approved and 41.51% (22 of 53) were defeated. From 2000 to 2020, 10 citizen initiatives were on the statewide ballot, of which seven were approved and three were defeated.

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