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Associated Press, Published October 23 2012

As lawmaker, ND attorney general opposed Election Day campaign ban

BISMARCK — When North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem was in the Legislature, he argued that the state's ban on Election Day campaigning was unconstitutional.

Now, Stenehjem is obliged to defend the law. Former North Dakota state Republican chairman Gary Emineth has filed a federal lawsuit to overturn it. Emineth says it violates the free-speech rights of North Dakotans.

Before Stenehjem was elected attorney general in 2000, he was a Republican state senator from Grand Forks and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

He backed legislation to repeal North Dakota's ban on Election Day campaigning because he thought it conflicted with U.S. Supreme Court decisions. The Legislature decided to keep the ban.

Stenehjem says it's OK to regulate campaigning close to polling places. But he says North Dakota's ban is much broader.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.