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WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 07, 2012, 03:25 PM

Paid petition circulators drove some North Dakota measures

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Some of North Dakota's new group of voter initiatives had to pay people to circulate their petitions.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Some of North Dakota's new group of voter initiatives had to pay people to circulate their petitions.

A consulting firm was paid $145,000 to run the signature-gathering effort for a proposal to put some of North Dakota's oil tax collections into a conservation fund.

A campaign to put a medical marijuana initiative on the November ballot spent about $45,000 on petition carriers.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger says it's uncommon for initiative campaigns to use paid petition circulators. He says the $145,000 spent by the conservation fund backers is surprising.

North Dakota law restricts how petition carriers may be paid. They can't be paid by the signature. Jaeger says he believes the law helps cut down incentives for abuse.

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