There is conflicting language between the North Dakota state constitution and the United States constitution, so technically, North Dakota might not be a U.S. state. Article XI of the U.S. Constitution requires a state to have its governor and several other top officials take an oath of office; North Dakota's state constitution does not have this requirement, which might technically disqualify it from statehood. Author John Rolczynski, the man who discovered the discrepancy in 1995, believes that North Dakota is still technically a territory and will remain so until its legislature adopts an amendment. A vote on whether to adopt the amendment was scheduled for November 2012.
More facts about North Dakota and statehood:
- The U.S. has five unincorporated territories: Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands. There also is one other basically unoccupied territory, the Palmyra atoll, which is an "unorganized incorporated territory" south of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean.
- North Dakota aside, the last two recognized incorporated organized territories were the Territory of Alaska and the Territory of Hawaii, both of which became states in 1959.
- Though North Dakota is the 19th largest U.S. state, it is the third-least populated, with only about 670,000 residents.