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If there is an issue that you think should become a law, you don’t have to wait until your state legislature agrees with you. You can let the voters decide by filing a ballot initiative. Your direct action can qualify your measure to be on the ballot in the next statewide election.

Last updated on: September 15, 2020

Qualified voters in North Dakota have the right to file a ballot initiative. They can propose and enact laws by initiative petition statewide. 

The following information is a brief overview of the initiative process and guidelines. For a more detailed description of how to file a ballot initiative in North Dakota visit the Initiative and Referendum pamphlet provided by the secretary of state. 

Draft your Petition 

If you would like to propose a law through initiative, start the process by drafting your petition. The secretary of state will provide you with the tools and required format for the draft. 

Designate twenty-five qualified individuals to be a part of the sponsorship committee and one person to act as the main chairperson.

The Process

When your draft is complete and you have a committee ready to go, you will need to submit it to the secretary of state. Within five to seven workdays you will find out if your petition is approved. The Secretary of State and the Attorney-general will create the petition title.

Initiative approval is necessary before petitioning can begin.


It’s important to check current guidelines before you start petitioning. The signature requirements for petitions in North Dakota are determined by the last recorded census population. 

Within one year of approval, your petition and necessary signatures must be submitted to the secretary of state for verification. If the petition is submitted less than 120 before the next election, it will not appear on the ballot until after that election. 

A ballot initiative must receive a majority of the affirmative votes in order to be enacted. 

If you would like help with filing a ballot initiative contact Let The Voters Decide today.