• Brass-Tacks
  • No on Measure 1: Breaking Down the Proposed Congressional Age Limits Ballot Measure

    North Dakota voters will have a chance to weigh in on setting age limits for federal congressional candidates at the upcoming primary election this June. The initiated ballot measure titled "Congressional Age Limits" or Measure 1 would prohibit individuals 81 years of age or older from being elected or appointed to serve a term representing the state in the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives. GNDC is taking an OPPOSE stance.
    Specifically, the initiated constitutional measure would:

    • Prohibit candidates from appearing on the ballot if they could turn 81 before the end of the term they are seeking.
    • Require ballot notifications stating the candidate's age at the end of the potential term.
    • Allow court challenges on whether denying older candidates violates the U.S. Constitution.
    • Require the state Attorney General to defend the law's implementation.
    • Take immediate effect if passed.
    Supporters of the measure argue that it promotes accountability by ensuring elected federal legislators have "skin in the game" and a stake in the long-term consequences of their actions. However, opponents like the Greater North Dakota Chamber (GNDC) believe it arbitrarily restricts voter choice.
    "Voters should have the ability to select candidates they feel best represent their values and interests, regardless of age," said Arik Spencer, GNDC President and CEO. "This proposed amendment imposes qualifications beyond what is stated in the U.S. Constitution."
    Legal experts have also raised concerns about the measure's constitutionality. In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton that states cannot set additional qualifications for congressional candidates beyond those specified in the Constitution.
    If the initiated measure passes and is challenged in court, the state of North Dakota would be required to allocate funds to defend the law, potentially costing taxpayers. GNDC and other opponents argue this would unnecessarily waste state resources on a measure of questionable legality.
    Historically, this has not been an issue for North Dakota. This supposed issue hasn't even manifested itself in our state. Current Senators John Hoeven (66) and Kevin Cramer (63), as well as Representative Kelly Armstrong (47) would all qualify under the proposed limits. From our research the closest this has come to impact is in 1992. An 84-year old independent candidate (A. King) had a senate run and was not elected, he received less than 2% of the vote. The only other congressionals remotely close to this threshold was Conrad (76) and Pomeroy (69) in 2012 and 2010, respectively.
    Looking for the language: Check out "INTIATED MEASURE 1" here.