You can’t trust the voters
The state legislature has been so meticulous at defending the polling place that it has now come up with a system that will disenfranchise a couple of hundred Native Americans because reservations do not have complete street addresses.
Legislators claim that voter fraud could happen so let’s protect the electoral process. It’s like passing laws to keep whales out of swimming pools. But this is serious so let’s not jest.
So far my cursory research on voter fraud in North Dakota has revealed this: In the last four primary and general elections, 1,682,161 votes were cast and nobody was charged or arrested for voter fraud. There is no voter fraud but let’s prevent it anyway.
But you can trust us
Ironically, the same folks who are tightening the noose on the voters are less concerned about integrity in government. In fact, the same legislators that have been opposing the ballot measure on government integrity and ethics (No.1) are the same ones that have been casting doubt on the integrity of voters.
According to its sponsors, Measure No. 1 would restrict lobbyists, guarantee election integrity and create an ethics commission to consider complaints against public officials, candidates and lobbyists.
The Measure No. 1 is being opposed by “North Dakotans for Sound Government” headed by Geoff Simon. And guess what? In his regular job, Simon is a lobbyist for the energy industry.
Marijuana hits the road – hard
According to two recent studies, car crashes were up as much as six percent in states riding high on recreational marijuana. The Institute for Highway Safety compared four states with recreational marijuana – Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington – with four states that do not have the mind-altering stuff – Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.
The study focused on collision claims between 2012 and 2017. Insurance rates to follow.
Low income; high taxes
Not only do many low income people need two jobs to make ends meet, North Dakota punishes them through the tax structure.
In a report just issued by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy for North Dakota, the lowest income folks pay the highest taxes and the top five percent pay the least.
The lowest 20 percent earning cup to $27,800 pay 10.3 percent in taxes while the wealthiest five percent pay only 4.5 percent. The high sales tax is the villain. Property tax is quite flat; the income tax is progressive, but it is too small to impact the total.
ND Votes on polarization
American politics will continue to be polarized as long as voters keep sending polarizing politicians to Washington. In a diverse society such as we have, compromise is necessary to create policy suitable for a wide range of people. If a candidate has never cast a bipartisan vote, he or she is not a problem solver but one of those “my way or the highway” barriers to progress.
To begin with, Republicans have used their power in Washington to ride roughshod over the Democratic minority. So if the Democrats win the Congress, they will be inclined to take their turn at brutal politics. Some are already talking about investigations, hearings and impeachment. Bad ideas. Democrats could help the nation turn the corner on polarization by turning the other cheek and bringing civility to the national dialogue.
Switzerland is calling the losers
If you are unhappy with the outcome of the election, here is a deal for you. The Swiss hamlet of Albinen is offering $25,000 to each adult and $10,000 for each child for anyone under 45 who will come to share their mountain. You must live there at least 10 years – two and a half presidential elections.
Lloyd Omdahl is the former Lt. Governor of the state of North Dakota. He has also been a professor at the University of North Dakota. His column can be found in newspapers all around the state.