A representative from Heidi Heitkamp’s campaign contacted university staff late Sunday night about the possibility of using the Bison Sports Arena for a political rally on Monday. University staff responded that the campus was willing to work with the campaign, but that North Dakota law regarding the usage of state facilities for political purposes posed a risk to the Heitkamp campaign. In response, the campaign opted for a different venue.
Here is the statute: Century Code § 16.1-10-02 www.legis.nd.gov/cencode/t16-1c10.pdf.
16.1-10-02. Use of state or political subdivision services or property for political purposes.
1. No person may use any property belonging to or leased by, or any service which is provided to or carried on by, either directly or by contract, the state or any agency, department, bureau, board, commission, or political subdivision thereof, for any political purpose.
2. The following definitions must be used for the purposes of this section:
a. "Political purpose" means any activity undertaken in support of or in opposition to a statewide initiated or referred measure, a constitutional amendment or measure, a political subdivision ballot measure, or the election or nomination of a candidate to public office and includes using "vote for", "oppose", or any similar support or opposition language in any advertisement whether the activity is undertaken by a candidate, a political committee, a political party, or any person. In the period thirty days before a primary election and sixty days before a special or general election, "political purpose" also means any activity in which a candidate's name, office, district, or any term meaning the same as "incumbent" or "challenger" is used in support of or in opposition to the election or nomination of a candidate to public office. The term does not include activities undertaken in the performance of public office or a position taken in any bona fide news story, commentary, or editorial. Factual information may be presented regarding a ballot question solely for the purpose of educating voters if the information does not advocate for or against or otherwise reflect a position on the adoption or rejection of the ballot question.
b. "Property" includes motor vehicles, telephones, typewriters, adding machines, postage or postage meters, funds of money, and buildings. However, nothing in this section may be construed to prohibit any candidate, political party, committee, or organization from using any public building for such political meetings as may be required by law, or to prohibit such candidate, party, committee, or organization from hiring the use of any public building for any political purpose if such lease or hiring is otherwise permitted by law.
c. "Services" includes the use of employees during regular working hours for which such employees have not taken annual or sick leave or other compensatory leave.