Bill addressing party affiliation in local elections

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 8:23 PM CST
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MINOT, N.D. – A recently proposed House Bill would allow local leaders to reveal their party affiliations prior to an election, but the community has different opinions on whether party lines should be drawn at the city level.

Some Minot citizens said they want to know how a candidate votes before they cast their ballots for them.

“I think it’s a good idea. If they don’t it means they are embarrassed or ashamed of their political party,” said Mike Huff, citizen.

“I think that the mayor and councilmen should let the public know if they are Republican or Democrat because during these times people need to know,” said James Bland, citizen.

Others who declined to be on camera said what party a candidate affiliates with should not matter.

District 5 Rep. Scott Louser, R-Minot, supports House Bill HB 1182 which would give local leaders like city council members, school board members, and Minot Park District members the option to declare their party affiliation as a Republican, Democrat, or Independent.

“It’s up to the candidate, and I think it just provides really good and improved transparency to the voters,” said Louser.

Minot Mayor Shaun Sipma along with other councilmen said that, while they believe in transparency, they will not support this bill.

“Transparency is about the issue. Transparency is about the point of how you’re going to vote. That is transparency, not the D or the R that identifies which party affiliation your allegiance is to, but where you stand on the issues,” said Sipma.

Louser said the bill will go to vote in the house in mid-February.

A similar bill that required local officials to declare their political party failed to pass the state House of Representatives in 2019.

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