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Port: Petitioners for term limits ballot measure falsely claiming it targets Congress

This ballot measure does not term limit Congress. No state constitution can impose term limits on Congress. The Supreme Court has ruled on that. The U.S. Constitution sets the terms for serving in Congress, not any state law.

PHOTO: Term Limits ballot measure petition circulator
In this reader-submitted photo, a circulator for a proposed constitutional amendment that would implement term limits in North Dakota uses signs that falsely claim the petition is about term limits for Congress (Submitted Photo)
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MINOT, N.D. — Is it too much to ask that ballot measure campaigns represent their proposals to the public honestly?

Last year a left-wing group circulated a constitutional amendment that would have done away with our existing primary process. It would have reduced your representation in the state House by half. It would have replaced our current voting method with ranked-choice ballots so that elections would be settled by spreadsheets instead of vote counts. It would have mandated open primaries, violating your constitutional right to associate with a political party.

Yet, their paid petitioners dishonestly represented it to potential signers as nothing more than an expansion of the voting window for deployed military members.

Folks, it's happening again.

A faction of self-styled True Conservative* poseurs, led by Bastiat Caucus organizer Jared Hendrix , is pushing a constitutional amendment to implement term limits for North Dakota's Governor and the Legislature.


Ironically, several of the Bastiat Caucus lawmakers on the sponsoring committee for this measure have already served beyond the eight-year limit they seek to oppose, though, and this is a marvelous bit of rank hypocrisy , their previous service wouldn't count under this amendment.


They're always finding an angle, am I right?

Anyway, this term limits ballot measure is being pitched to the public with a lie.

I've had many of you readers contact me saying they've been approached by circulators asking them to sign a petition for Congressional term limits. A couple of readers even sent me pictures of a circulator working outside the North Dakota State Fair gates in Minot using signs that refer to term limiting Congress.

Photo: North Dakota State Fair term limits petitioner
This reader-submitted photo shows a booth outside of an entrance to the North Dakota State Fair collecting signatures for a term limits ballot measure, but using signs that falsely declare that the term limits would be for Congress (Reader Submitted Photo)

This ballot measure does not term limit Congress. That's a very different sort of proposal.


No state constitution can impose term limits on Congress.

The Supreme Court has ruled on that .

The U.S. Constitution sets the terms for serving in Congress, not any state law.

This ballot measure currently being circulated (read it in full below) would amend North Dakota's constitution and implement term limits for the Legislature and the Governor's office and definitely not Congress.

Yet, many of the folks being asked to sign this measure are given the impression that they're supporting term limits for Congress. Again, a much different policy proposal than term limiting the Governor or the Legislature.

And they ought to know better. The website advertised on these signs, , is actually owned by U.S. Term Limits.


They're backing this ballot measure.

They're the same group that was the plaintiff in the aforementioned U.S. Supreme Court case, U.S. Term Limits Inc. vs. Thornton .

They should know, better than anyone, that advertising this state ballot measure as a term limit for Congress is a lie, yet they seem to be doing it anyway.

Hendrix, the chairman of the term limits ballot measure committee, didn't immediately respond to a phone call or text message seeking comment.

*As opposed to we regular conservatives who just want the government to govern competently and efficiently and aren't at all interested in the endless culture war.

To comment on this article, visit

Rob Port, founder of, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at .

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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