Frequently Asked Questions

Why the age of 80 and not any other age?
We believe in principle that there should be a retirement age for Congress, but people support caps at different ages. There is both national and in-state polling that shows support for congressional age limits even at age 70, but that support is overwhelming at age 80. So pragmatically, we believe 80 years is something that most people will support. Source: 4/27/23 McLaughlin
Why not have a cognitive test instead?
By the time someone fails a cognitive test, there is already a problem. Also, while many may disagree on the manner and metrics used for a cognitive test, there is no ambiguity in law when it comes to age. Age limits are simple, and straightforward.
Are any other positions currently age-limited? Do any other states do this?
Many states have age limits on state judges. North Dakota judges lose their retirement benefits if they don’t retire by 73. In all, 31 states have age limits on judges, while 2 states (Arkansas and North Dakota) remove retirement benefits if judges don’t retire at a certain age.
Is this age limit measure just a stalking horse for term limits?

Both issues are overwhelmingly popular with citizens. While many, if not nearly all, of our supporters also back term limits, that is a separate issue.

Is this measure targeting specific politicians in North Dakota?
As of August 2023, the current North Dakota congressional delegation is composed of Sen. John Hoeven (age 66), Sen. Kevin Cramer (age 62) and Rep. Kelly Armstrong (age 46). Our measure would not affect any of the current officeholders eligible for reelection in 2024. We are focused on the issue itself, not any individual politician. We think it’s important to address this issue before it impacts any of our officials. This allows the campaign to proceed without appearing to be partisan or targeting any specific politician.
In 1995, the US Supreme Court issued a close, 5-4 decision ruling term limits illegal. So is this age limit proposal constitutional?
We won’t speculate on what the court would do. Certainly, Retire Congress North Dakota believes in a strong 10th Amendment standard for state’s rights, and that the people of our state are well within their rights to propose this measure. Perhaps, if we had term limits, age limits would not be necessary. The problem we are aiming to fix is more obvious every day. Congress has refused to address it, so we’re taking action.
Could this be seen as a push to enact age discrimination in ND? Would it lead to disqualification of others from Congress, such as based upon race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or other unrelated characteristics?
Age is not the same as race or sexual orientation. Unless we die younger, we will all be 81 at some point, just like we were all 18 or 21. We have many laws that limit ourselves based on age – drinking, driving, being a commercial airline pilot. These laws don’t allow for restrictions based on race, sexual orientation, or other characteristics beyond the age itself.
If your measure applied to presidential candidates it would limit both Biden and Trump in 2024. If 80 is the upper age for Congress shouldn't it also apply to the presidency?
Our initiative is about North Dakota’s congressional candidates, not about the President. While we believe discussions of the age of presidential candidates is fair, it is unrelated to our measure. The President is picked by 50 states, our Congress members are picked by us.
Is this an out-of-state group taking advantage of ND's initiative system?

Retire Congress North Dakota consists of a sponsoring committee, with notarized, sworn affidavits, signed by North Dakota citizens from across the state in support of our issue. We have accepted support from U.S. Term Limits, a national nonprofit that is focused on term limits and similar issues.

Our initiative process in North Dakota isn’t lax or easy. We commonly see 1 or 2 citizen initiated ballot questions on the ballot. States with much more expensive systems like California and Florida have many more initiated ballot questions. Letting the citizens vote on issues that the legislature refuses to address isn’t taking advantage of our system – it’s giving the people a voice.

Our committee is all North Dakota residents, we’re getting signatures from North Dakota voters, and only North Dakota voters will be able to vote on the measure. We’re happy to have the funding support from U.S. Term Limits. Initiatives are very expensive. We happily accept donations from in-state and out of state donors.