October 28, 2014

County commission, sheriff races will be key local races

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

When McKenzie County voters step into the voting booth on Tuesday, Nov. 4, not only will they be joining the rest of the state on voting for eight measures, but they will be casting their vote for a variety of state and county positions.
Two of the most highly contested local races will be for candidates running for McKenzie County Sheriff and the McKenzie County Board of County Commissioners.
Seeking the county sheriff’s office are Gary Schwartzenberger and Troy White Owl, who are seeking to replace the retiring John Fulwider.
In a four-way race for two seats on the McKenzie County Board of County Commissioners is incumbent Richard Lawlar, along with Vawnita Best, Kent Pedersen, and Kathy Skarda.
Running unchallenged for other county offices is Linda Svihovec, who is seeking another term as County Auditor; Jacob Rodenbiker, who is seeking a full term as County State’s Attorney; Ann M. Johnsrud, who is running for County Recorder; Cheryl Grantier, who is seeking another term as County Treasurer; and the McKenzie County Farmer as the official newspaper of McKenzie County.
State Races
For the first time in many years, voters in District 39 will see a full slate of candidates from the Republican and Democratic parties seeking to serve in the North Dakota Legislature.
In the Senate race, Republican incumbent Bill L. Bowman is running against Democrat Stephanie L. Pretzer for District 39, while Republicans Keith Kempenich, an incumbent, along with Denton Zubke are running against Democrats Greg Tank and Maddison Voigt.
Statewide, voters will also be voting for eight measures on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Constitutional Measure #1 would create and enact a new section to Article I of the North Dakota Constitution, stating “The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”
A yes vote supports the amendment language.
Constitutional Measure #2 would create and enact a new section to Article X of the North Dakota Constitution stating “The state and any county, township, city, or any other political subdivision of the state may not impose any mortgage taxes or any sales or transfer taxes on the mortgage or transfer of real property.”
A yes vote would oppose new taxes by prohibiting imposition of mortgage or transfer taxes in the future.
Constitutional Measure #3 would create and enact a new section to Article VIII of the North Dakota Constitution creating a three-member commission of higher education, effective July 1, 2015, with full executive responsibility for the management and operation of the North Dakota University System. The measure would repeal Section 6 of Article VIII of the Constitution relating to the current eight-member state board of higher education.
A yes vote would change the board of Higher Ed from an eight-member board to a three-member commission.
Constitutional Measure #4 would amend and re-enact Section 2 of Article III of the North Dakota Constitution. This measure would require that initiated measures that are estimated to have a significant fiscal impact must be placed on the general election ballot. The measure would also prohibit the approval for circulation of any petition to initiate a constitutional amendment that would make a direct appropriation of public funds for a specific purpose or require the legislative assembly to approve funds for a specific purpose.
A yes vote would ensure that initiated measures with large fiscal impacts are voted on in higher-turnout elections and allows legislative oversight of funds directly appropriated via initiated measure.
Constitutional Measure #5 would divert five percent of North Dakota’s oil and gas extraction taxes into a fund managed by an appointed advisory board for conservation purposes, which would include the option to buy land with the money. Based on oil production forecasts this measure would divert as much as $150 million a year into this new constitutional fund. This measure also requires that at least 75 percent of those dollars be spent every year.
A yes vote would enact this measure.
Initiated Statutory Measure #6 would amend Section 14-09-06.2 of the North Dakota Century Code to create a presumption that each parent is a fit parent and entitled to be awarded equal parental rights and responsibilities by a court unless there is clear and convincing evidence to the contrary; the measure would also provide a definition of equal parenting time.
A yes vote supports changing the starting point in custody disputes to equal parental rights.
Initiated Statutory Measure #7 would amend Section 43-15-35 of the North Dakota Century Code and would repeal the requirement that an applicant for a permit to operate a pharmacy must be a licensed pharmacist, a business entity controlled by licensed pharmacists, a hospital pharmacy, or a postgraduate medical residency program.
A yes vote would repeal the state’s current law.
Initiated Statutory Measure #8 would amend Section 15.1-06-03 of the North Dakota Century Code to require school classes to begin after Labor Day.
A yes vote would require schools in North Dakota to start after Labor Day.
Polling Places and Hours
McKenzie County’s polling hours will be from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 4, with the exception of those voters in the Bennie Pierre precinct where poll hours will be from 12 noon to 7 p.m.
The polling places for McKenzie County voters can be found in this week’s legal section.