- Associated Press - Thursday, October 30, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Daily News, Wahpeton, Oct. 27, 2014

Be an informed voter on Election Day

Election Day is a few short days away and as Nov. 4 approaches, North Dakota and Minnesota residents can exercise one of the rights afforded us by the U.S. Constitution, the right to vote.

This important responsibility is something many take seriously. On both sides of the state line there are candidates to elect and in Richland County, eight state measures and three county measures await our decision.

Each of the measures is asking voters to make changes to existing laws, whether through initiated measures or amendments. Some of the measures have received strong support as well as strong opposition throughout the state. In each of these ballot questions, our response is determined by so much more than simply filling in the oval.

One of the most critical actions a voter can take is to familiarize themselves with the issues before Election Day. We shouldn’t use guesswork to cast our votes. Each response needs to be made after a thorough search of the issues has been conducted. Here is an example: Measure 5, dubbed the Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks Amendment, has a 25-year clause, while Measure 7 could have repercussions among your area pharmacists, so understand what you are marking in each yes or no oval before your ballot is official.

“The uninformed voter is a constant hazard when it comes to measures,” said columnist Lloyd Omdahl.

Truer words have never been spoken.

People need to find the answers before Election Day. Candidates use billboards, advertisements and public forums to reach voters. A good candidate persuades voters based on their own background and history, while some use the time to attack their opponents. It is all part of the election process, but you, the voter need to determine who will serve your needs best by making an informed decision in the ballot box.

So be informed, but above all, vote.

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The Williston Herald, Williston, Oct. 24, 2014

Measure 1: ‘No’ on life amendment

Measure 1 brings more questions and problems to the table than are worth it to the state.

It starts with its language, which is ambiguous at best for a so-called simple ballot measure. But that’s a small piece of Measure 1, which would also allow more government invasion in private and personal medical decisions, thus opening the possibility of an endless series of litigation.

North Dakotans should vote “No” on Measure 1 and ensure that government and religious authorities remain out of personal medical decisions at the beginning and end of life.

Opponents and supporters of this measure will argue cut and dry language to support their side, but the case is that neither side’s reading of the proposal can be pegged down as factual.

Measure 1 has overwhelmingly caused disagreement among lawyers and legal scholars.

Doctors and medical professionals in reproductive and hospice care fields have nearly unanimously said the amendment would open the state up to violating the sanctity between patient and doctor and families and caregivers.

The level of disagreement and professional objections from the medical field warrant a resounding vote of disapproval.

Flexible and vague language of this level simply doesn’t belong in the state constitution.

Measure 1 has no medical basis, and is instead a veiled attempt to push a religious agenda through state government, which has failed in Colorado and Mississippi, and would send the state straight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

State legislators didn’t see past smoke screen last session and passed a social issues measure onto the ballot that violates the privacy and intelligence of North Dakotans.

If passed, Measure 1 will further complicate already-difficult decisions in the lives of North Dakotans.

Vote a strong “No” on Measure 1 so these personal decisions can be made without government interference.

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The Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, Oct. 23, 2014

Parking meter ban still makes sense

Few people remember Howard Henry, but in 1948 he made history in North Dakota. His one-man crusade banned parking meters in the state.

A ban the Tribune feels still makes sense 66 years later.

Henry, a Westhope farmer, apparently became angry after being labeled a scofflaw after racking up overtime parking tickets in Minot. And he decided to do something about it.

According to a 1982 Associated Press story, he crisscrossed the state in his airplane circulating petitions to ban the meters. And he won, not once, but three times.

In 1948, his measure, Prohibiting Parking Meters in Political Subdivisions, No. 2, passed 96,192 to 93,670 or 50.66 percent to 49.34 percent.

Parking meters had been introduced in Bismarck on Aug. 12, 1946. In an effort to help citizens, the Tribune ran a graphic on Aug. 10 showing readers how to operate a meter.

On Nov. 19, 1946, the Tribune reported that ” … $7,352.42 in nickels, pennies, dimes and an occasional quarter, plus an unassessed sackful of slugs had been collected …” from the meters.

So when 1948 rolled around and the meters were banned, city officials weren’t happy. The larger cities got the issue back on the ballot but lost by 23,000 votes.

In 1951, the Legislature revived the meters, but Henry pushed another measure and voters again rejected meters. In July of 1952, the Tribune ran a photo of “beheaded” meters in a city warehouse under the headline “Parking Meter Graveyard.”

The parking meters became part of our history. On occasion, someone has raised the issue of bringing back meters. In 1976, Bismarck City Commissioner Harry Pearce suggested the meters were needed.

He felt police were spending too much time checking for parking violations, according to a Tribune story. Nothing came of his efforts.

Now Bismarck Mayor Mike Seminary wants to see the ban reversed. He plans to discuss the issue with legislators and wants the Legislature to give cities the ability to make the decision on a local basis. The mayor believes with federal funding becoming tighter the city needs other revenue sources.

Seminary said funds from parking meters could be used for parking upkeep and possibly for road improvements or new roads.

The Tribune believes parking meters are best left to history. With efforts underway to draw more people downtown and make it more attractive to residents and visitors, meters would be counterproductive.

Bismarck needs to make going downtown as convenient as possible for visitors and businesses, parking meters add another task and cost. They have the potential of keeping people away from downtown.

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