Red State Approves Measure Blocking Candidates Over 81

( – On June 11, voters in North Dakota approved a ballot measure blocking congressional candidates over the age of 81 from seeking office.

Any candidate running or serving in the U.S. Senate or the U.S. House of Representatives who would turn 81 years old during their term is barred from seeking office under the measure, which creates a new article in the North Dakota Constitution called “Congressional Age Limits.” It does not apply to presidential candidates.

About 60.9 percent of voters approved the measure, with 39.1 percent voting against it.

The measure will not affect North Dakota’s current congressional delegation since all three are younger than 70 years old.

According to those who support the ballot measure, the measure aims to prevent those who hold congressional offices from having age-related and cognitive issues while serving in office. Chair of the sponsoring committee Retire Congress North Dakota, Jared Hendrix, said that an age limit is “crucial” to ensuring North Dakotans are “adequately” represented by their Congress members in Washington, D.C. In 2022, Hendrix also led the successful effort to have term limits apply to the North Dakota governorship, state Senate, and state House.

However, those opposed, such as Republican North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer, 63, said voters should not be “arbitrarily” limited when choosing a candidate. Some legal experts have also stated the ballot measure could lead to revisiting the 1995 Supreme Court ruling against states imposing congressional term limits.

The measure comes as voters are concerned about the age of the two candidates who are running for president, President Joe Biden, 81, and former President Donald Trump, who turned 78 on June 14. Other lawmakers, such as Senate Minority Leader and Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, 82, who has faced health issues, and the late California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who died in 2023 at 90 years old while serving in office, have raised concerns over the age of those serving in Congress.

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