North Dakota Senate sustains Gov. Burgum’s (R) veto of HB1273

The North Dakota State Senate voted to sustain Gov. Doug Burgum’s (R) veto of HB1273 on April 19, 2023. The bill would have prohibited the use of approval or ranked-choice voting methods in the state. Twenty-eight Senators voted to override the veto while 19 voted to sustain. In the North Dakota Senate, a two-thirds majority of the 47 member chamber is required to override a veto. The North Dakota House of Representatives previously voted 71 to 17 to override the veto on April 10, 2023.

The bill banning approval or ranked-choice voting originally advanced out of the North Dakota Legislature on March 30, 2023, after a 30 to 13 vote for passage in the state Senate. Gov. Burgum then vetoed the bill on April 6, calling the bill an example of state overreach and saying it “blatantly infringes on local control.” North Dakota House Majority Leader Mike Lefor (R) said of the effort to override Gov. Burgum’s veto: “The legislature properly exercised its authority to regulate the way elections are conducted… It’s a matter of statewide concern.”

North Dakota would have become the fifth state to enact bans on ranked-choice voting methods had the veto override been successful. Both Idaho and South Dakota enacted prohibitions this year, joining Florida and Tennessee who did so in 2022. Several other states are considering similar legislation in 2023 legislative sessions.