Plain Language Ballot Legislation Signed Into Law
(Bismarck, ND) With the passage of Senate Bill 2163, North Dakota joins 16 other states enacting plain language laws. This legislation will require that constitutional amendments and initiated and referred measures appearing on voting ballots to be written in plain language.
Plain language is a way of writing. It uses smaller words and shorter sentences. This helps people understand the main ideas more clearly. Plain language creates access for people with disabilities, a group that makes up approximately 25% of North Dakota voters. Using plain language benefits everyone, as more than half of Americans read below a sixth-grade level according to the US Department of Education.
P&A brought Senate Bill 2163 to legislators in an effort to address concerns in the disability community. P&A appreciates the support of bill sponsors Senator Dick Dever (lead sponsor), Senator Magrum, Representative Dobervich, Representative Karls, Representative Klemin, and Representative Meier. P&A also thanks all legislators who voted “Yes” on the bill, which will allow all North Dakotans to clearly understand their choice when voting and fully participate in the electoral process.
The North Dakota Protection & Advocacy Project is a federally mandated, independent state agency established in 1977 to advance the human and legal rights of people with disabilities. P&A’s mission is to champion the equality and inclusion of people with disabilities where we live, work and play. P&A fulfills its mission by providing services to individuals with disabilities and their support networks; these services include information and referral, assistance with self-advocacy, education and training, advocacy services, legal representation, protective services, and systems and legislative advocacy.