Haugen v. Jaeger, 082520 NDSC, 20200213

Docket Nº20200213
Opinion JudgePer Curiam.
Party NameMichael J. Haugen, Jacob Stutzman, Trent Barkus, and Brighter Future Alliance, Petitioners v. Alvin Jaeger, in his official capacity as North Dakota Secretary of State, and the Sponsoring Committee of Measure 3, Respondents
AttorneyDavid W. Asp (argued), Minneapolis, MN, and Shane C. Goettle (appeared), Mandan, N.D., for petitioners. David R. Phillips (argued), Assistant Attorney General, and Matthew A. Sagsveen (appeared), Solicitor General, Office of the Attorney General, Bismarck, N.D., for respondent Alvin Jaeger. Timot...
Judge PanelJon J. Jensen, C.J. Gerald W.VandeWalle Daniel J. Crothers Lisa Fair McEvers Jerod E. Tufte
Case DateAugust 25, 2020
CourtSupreme Court of North Dakota

2020 ND 177

Michael J. Haugen, Jacob Stutzman, Trent Barkus, and Brighter Future Alliance, Petitioners

v.

Alvin Jaeger, in his official capacity as North Dakota Secretary of State, and the Sponsoring Committee of Measure 3, Respondents

No. 20200213

Supreme Court of North Dakota

August 25, 2020

WRIT OF INJUNCTION GRANTED.

David W. Asp (argued), Minneapolis, MN, and Shane C. Goettle (appeared), Mandan, N.D., for petitioners.

David R. Phillips (argued), Assistant Attorney General, and Matthew A. Sagsveen (appeared), Solicitor General, Office of the Attorney General, Bismarck, N.D., for respondent Alvin Jaeger.

Timothy Q. Purdon (argued), Bismarck, N.D., for respondent Sponsoring Committee of Measure 3.

Challis D. Williams (on brief), Grand Forks, N.D., for amicus curiae.

Per Curiam.

[¶1] Michael J. Haugen, Jacob Stutzman, Trent Barkus, and the Brighter Future Alliance seek a writ enjoining Secretary of State Alvin Jaeger from placing an initiated measure on the November 3, 2020 ballot. The measure seeks to amend the North Dakota Constitution concerning elections and legislative districting. We grant the writ, concluding the petition does not comply with the constitutional requirement that it contain the full text of the measure. We set aside the Secretary of State's decision to place Measure 3 on the November ballot and enjoin him from doing so.

I

[¶2] In March of 2020, the Sponsoring Committee sought the Secretary of State's approval, as to form, for a petition to initiate a measure that would amend the North Dakota Constitution to include provisions dealing with the transmission of voting ballots to overseas military members, voting records, open primaries, a run-off election system, and legislative districting. The Secretary of State approved the petition as to form and provided the Sponsoring Committee with a petition title. The petition title reads: This initiated measure would add a new section to and amend Section 2 of Article IV of the North Dakota Constitution. It would require ballots to be transmitted to qualified military-overseas electors by the sixty-first day before an election. It would require all voting machines to produce a paper record of each vote cast and the Secretary of State to conduct a random audit of election results and issue an audit report within 120 days of an election. It would establish a new process for open primary elections in which all electors would be allowed to vote the ballot regardless of political party affiliation; all candidates for each office would be listed on a single ballot; candidates would be allowed, but not required, to identify their political party; and, regardless of political party identification, the four candidates receiving the most votes would advance to the general election ballot for that office. No other candidates could appear except those nominated through the primary election. It would permit political parties to state on the ballot which candidates they endorse. It would allow voters in general elections to rank their first, second, third, and fourth choices of the candidates for each office and have the votes counted through a defined procedure until a candidate receives a majority of the votes cast for that office. It would require the Ethics Commission to draw legislative senatorial districts by unanimous vote, divide each senatorial district into two legislative house districts, hold eight public hearings on the proposed redistricting plan with two of the hearings held on two different American Indian Reservations, and follow certain criteria for the drawing of legislative districts. It would require the Secretary of State to provide the Ethics Commission with the tools and data necessary to draw the districts and the legislature to provide adequate funds for the duties of the Ethics Commission.

[¶3] On July 6, 2020, the Sponsoring Committee submitted the final petitions with accompanying signatures to the Secretary of State for approval. On August 11, 2020, the Secretary approved the petition to appear on the November ballot as Measure 3. On August 12, 2020, the Petitioners filed for a writ enjoining the Secretary of State from placing Measure 3 on the November...

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