Voters overwhelmingly rejected a measure that would have called for a 5-year prison term for cruelty to cats, dogs and horses.
North Dakota's general election was all Republican until the clock struck midnight and voters awaited the final totals for the hotly contested U.S. Senate race between Rick Berg and Democrat Heidi Heitkamp. Here are five things to know about the election results:
VOTERS TELL LEGISLATORS TO BUTT OUT
State lawmakers have for years refused to approve a comprehensive statewide smoking ban. Voters on Tuesday passed one by a whopping margin. The state has had a limited smoking ban for seven years. The new law expands the ban to bars, motels, private nursing homes, cabs and public transportation. It also prohibits smoking within 20 feet of an entrance to a public building. Final vote: 200,269 yes, 99,517 no.
BOW WOW OUCH
Voters overwhelmingly rejected a measure that would have called for a 5-year prison term for cruelty to cats, dogs and horses. An animal rights group says the Dakotas are the only states without felony penalties for animal mistreatment. North Dakota's two major farm groups opposed the measure, saying it was vague and poorly worded. It went down by nearly 2-to-1.
BACKYARD BEATDOWN FOR BERG
U.S. Senate candidate Rick Berg, the only Republican facing possible defeat for state or federal office, was pummeled in Cass County, where the Hettinger native has lived for most of his life. Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, of Mandan, received 41,397 votes in the state's most populous county, compared to 31,509 for Berg.
A FARMING FIRST
Voters approved a state constitutional amendment protecting farmers' rights — the first ever proposed, much less adopted, in the nation, according to agricultural analysts. The amendment says the Legislature can't prevent farmers from using agricultural technology and "modern livestock production and ranching practices." If the language seems a bit imprecise, its authors said that was so it can continue to protect farmers far into the future.
ANEXATION NIXED IN SECESSION SESSION
A measure that was brought by a group of Pleasant Township residents who wanted to secede from Cass County and join Richland County because of part of the plans for the Red River diversion was blown out of the water. It needed to pass in both counties. Richland voters said sure. About 63 percent of Cass voters said no. "I don't want anybody to take anything away from Cass County. They should stay here," said Cass County voter Mark Nettum, of Fargo.