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Rewritten: North Dakota Backers of Congressional Age Limit Amendment Given One Year to Collect Ballot Signatures

Supporters of a proposed ballot measure in North Dakota have been given one year to gather enough signatures in order to put the issue of setting congressional age limits to a public vote. The Secretary of State has approved the petition format, beginning the timeline for collecting the signatures of at least 31,164 North Dakota voters. The group behind the measure intends to have it on the June 2024 primary election ballot, aiming to gather signatures before the arrival of cold weather. However, if the signatures are submitted after the deadline, the measure would be pushed to the November 2024 general election. The proposal would amend the state’s constitution and necessitate a simple majority to pass.

According to the measure, individuals who would turn 81 by the end of their term would be ineligible for election or appointment to North Dakota’s U.S. House or Senate seats. The measure has garnered support from various current and former Republican lawmakers in the state. The proponents of the measure believe in the principle of having a retirement age for Congress, considering the median age of retirement in the United States to be 64. However, it remains uncertain if the proposed amendment would withstand the U.S. Constitution, as it currently does not establish maximum age limits.

In the past, North Dakota has had octogenarian officeholders, such as U.S. Sen. Milton Young, who left office at the age of 83 in 1981, and U.S. Sen. Quentin Burdick, who passed away in office at the age of 84 in 1992. The amendment also includes a provision for a “ballot advisory” that would mention the age of congressional candidates at the end of their term, in case higher laws require age-limited candidates to appear on the ballot.

It will be interesting to see if this proposed measure gains enough support and if it can overcome any potential constitutional challenges. Limiting the age of elected officials can have implications on experience and diversity in Congress. While it aims to address concerns of older politicians being out of touch, it is important to consider the potential impact on representation and the ability to elect experienced leaders.

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