Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science & Public Administration


'The North Dakota Constitutional Convention of 1889 provided that the representation of both houses of the legislature be based on population. The Convention made the first apportionment in 1889, and the Legislative Assembly made the subsequent ones in 1901, 190?, 1911, 1915, and 1931* Between 1931 and 1961 no apportionment was made by the Assembly despite substantial population shifts within the state*

Failure to apportion for thirty years led to the passage ir. ti.e June 1960 primary of an initiated constitutional amendment. The amendment froze the Senate apportionment that was established in 1931, based representation in the lower house on population, and created a special commission to reapportion if the Legislative Assembly failed to perform its duty.

The 1961 Assembly failed to devise a plan of its own and the special commission reapportioned the lower house. Dissatisfaction with the commission's apportionment plan, mainly by citizens in the large cities, produced litigation. The 7"'>rth Da ota Supreme Court in March, 1962, declared the commission's plan unconstitutional. In June of the same year a three-judge federal court allowed the 1931 apportionment to stand but retained jurisdiction of the case, expecting the Legislative Assembly to act in the next session.

The 1963 Session of the Legislative Assembly adopted a plan to reapportion the lowei house. The plan produced litigation and was su b se q u en t ly a e u -a r e d u n c o n s t i tu t io n a l U s in g th e U .S . Supreme Court's decision of Reynolds v. Sims, (one man, one vote), the district court retained .jurisdiction of the case expecting the next session of the legislature to apportion both houses of the legislature on the oasis of population.

The Legislative Research Committee., mindful of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Reynolds v. Sims secured the services of a retired C. P. A., R. R. Smith of Grand Porks, to devise an equitable apportionment plan for both house of the Legislature. The Legislative Assembly rejected the Smith Plan and passed its own re apportionment plan in the iy65 session. In August of 1965 a three-judge federal court threw out the Legislature's Plan and reapportioned North Dakota on the basis of the Smith Plan.