Article III of the North Dakota Constitution guarantees the right of the people to initiate or refer laws by petition. This document provides you with the laws and procedures associated with the petition process and complete instructions for initiating a measure in North Dakota.  

Initiated and Referring Law in North Dakota

Creating a Petition

You must first create the appropriate documents and structure for your measure petition. The Office of the Secretary of State has a step-by-step tool to assist you in this process.  

Use the Petition Drafting Tool 

Submitting a Petition for Approval

Once you have created your petition and secured a sponsoring committee, you must submit your petition materials for approval by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State has five (5) to seven (7) business days to draft a petition title and approve the petition for style and form. Once the petition is approved, the petition circulators can begin gathering signatures. Here are a couple of examples to aid you in your petition drafting: 

For greater information on elections in North Dakota review North Dakota Election Laws. 

Petition Review for Ballot Inclusion

A petition must be filed with the Secretary of State no later than one year from the date it is approved for circulation. The petition, along with the required number of signatures, must be submitted no less than 120 days before a statewide election in order for the measure to be included on that election’s ballot. 

  • Petitions with sufficient signatures will result in the measure being included on the next eligible election ballot. 
  • Upon receipt of petitions, the Secretary of State has up to 35 days to review  and conduct a random sampling to determine the validity of the signatures. 
  • Signatures determined to be invalid will not be counted. 
  • All violations of North Dakota law discovered by the Secretary of State will be reported to the Attorney General for investigation.

Additional Forms

Campaign Finance Requirements

North Dakota requires campaign finance disclosure statements be filed online by all filers or committees that are receiving contributions, making expenditures for political purposes, or maintain a balance in a campaign account. 

Petition measure committees can view filing requirements at Campaign Finance.