October 17, 2018


By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

North Dakotans are being asked to decide the fate of four measures that will be appearing on this year’s Nov. 6 General Election ballot. Those measures deal with everything to legalizing recreational marijuana in the state to creating an Ethics Commission, deciding who can legally vote in the state and providing free license plates to first responders.
As I have done in the past, this week I’m going to give you my thoughts on these four measures. By no means should you accept my thoughts as being the way that you should vote. In order to cast an informed vote, you should do a little reading up on these four measures. The following is just my opinion.

Measure No. 1 - Creating an Ethics Commission
While the proponents of Measure No. 1 want to create a state Ethics Commission to handle complaints about elected officials, and to monitor campaign contributions, one has to wonder if there isn’t a better way to spend the state’s money.
Personally, I can’t think of anyone who wants an unethical person to hold an elected office. But do we really need to spend the state’s money to create a new watchdog group to ferret out whether or not an elected official has done something wrong or if someone or some group is trying to influence government actions?
Let’s first deal with the prospect of electing someone who turns out to be unethical? Given today’s political climate, my guess is that the Ethics Commission would never run out of “alleged complaints” of some official being unethical. That in itself is enough reason to be skeptical of Measure No. 1.
But if voters should decide that an elected official is unethical, they have the right and the duty to then vote that person out of office.
The rest of the measure concerns about controlling campaign contributions have some merits, but overall the measure isn’t something that North Dakota needs.
I will be voting “no” on Measure No. 1.

Measure No. 2 - Who is eligible to vote
I just don’t understand the need for Measure No. 2, which changes the language of the state’s Constitution from “every citizen” to “only a citizen” of the United States is a qualified elector when it comes to voting in North Dakota.
I think Measure No. 2 is splitting hairs when it comes to determining who is considered an eligible voter.
So rather than go through the process of changing the state’s Constitution for no real purpose, I will be voting “no” on Measure No. 2.

Measure No. 3 - Legalizing recreational marijuana
Of all the measures that North Dakota voters will be deciding on during the Nov. 6 General Election, Measure No. 3 is perhaps the most dangerous.
First, the measure is horribly written and would make North Dakota the most liberal state in the union when it comes to growing, selling and the use of marijuana. That’s because the measure doesn’t provide for any of the standard public safeguards or have the provision for enacting them. It is a bad measure that will have lasting negative impacts on the state. And many of the states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana are already now regretting it.
What else can I say. I understand some people want to legally use marijuana recreationally, but Measure No. 3 is the wrong way to achieve that goal.
I most definitely will be voting “no” on Measure No. 3.

Measure No. 4 - Providing license plates to first responders
Measure No. 4 is truly a feel good measure that would allow the state of North Dakota to provide free personalized license plates to the state’s first responders.
I don’t think that anyone would argue that our first responders provide a great service in our community and are truly our heroes when it comes to them responding to us in our greatest hours of need. We owe these volunteers far more than a free license plate for the countless hours of training that they undergo and their willingness to always answer our call for help.
I will be voting “yes” on Measure No. 4.