In the aftermath of the State Legislature stripping the State Auditor of his authority to initiate performance audits — and Governor Doug Burgum signing off on the power grab — a movement came together under the banner now known as “Audit the Swamp” to refer the issue to North Dakota’s voters. You can see their Facebook page here.
From a source directly involved with the referral effort, I can now tell you that North Dakota’s Secretary of State’s office has officially received the necessary paperwork to not only refer Section 3 of the State Auditor’s bill (Senate Bill 2004), but Audit the Swamp also turned in affidavits to refer legislation that further exempts Legislators’ e-mail from being subject to open records requests (Senate Bill 2221) and Section 5 of the Governor’s budget, which authorizes the $50 million endowment for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum (Senate Bill 2001).
According to Article III, Section 5 of the North Dakota State Constitution, the necessary signatures to put these issues on the ballot in the next statewide election must be submitted within 90 days of each one being signed by the governor and filed with the Secretary of State’s office. The number of signatures required for each one will be 13,452. Here are the filing dates — from oldest to most recent — for each piece of legislation:
- Legislators E-mail Exemption — April 25th
- Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum — May 2nd
- State Auditor — May 7th
Since the Secretary of State and Attorney General have five to seven business days to draft petition titles, it appears the earliest that Audit the Swamp would begin gathering signatures is June 3rd. The deadlines for signatures to be turned in are:
- Legislators E-mail Exemption — July 24th
- Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum — July 31st
- State Auditor — August 5th
If you’re interested in being part of the effort to reject these moves by the State Legislature, contact Audit the Swamp.
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