While banning campaign workers from being paid based on how many signatures they collect on a petition has been struck down as unconstitutional in five different states, eight states still have such bans or other restrictions in place. Payment-per-signature allows citizens greater certainty in judging the cost of a petition effort, and states that have enacted bans have seen the cost of qualifying an initiative rise considerably.
Mike Parson hates voters, that is the only thing we can conclude. Why else would he try year after year to gut Missouri voters’ ballot initiative process?
Nebraska resident Kent Bernbeck has filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on paying campaign workers who circulate petitions by the signature and requirement that petition circulators be over the age of 18.
After blogging yesterday about some of the petty ways initiative opponents try to block people from excercising their voting rights by throwing out their signatures on a petition, I started thinking about the wider struggle to protect those rights. Special interests and many politicians simply don’t like the initiative process because it threatens their hold on power. The last thing they want is for you, the voter, to have a say in how their government is run.
By now, any Californian who has not been hounded to sign a petition for a ballot initiative must never go grocery shopping or strolling along a downtown street. The paid signature gatherers are abundant, they are aggressive and sometimes they are deceptive in their pitches. Most of them have an incentive to be pushy and not quite forthright: They are being paid by the signature.
The Miami Herald is reporting that two bills that would have significantly altered Florida’s election law, including banning paying petition circulators by signature, is unlikely to pass this year. The legislative session is scheduled to end May 1.
The 26th Alaska Legislature closed its session Sunday without passing House Bill 36. The bill would have required campaign finance reporting for initiative supporters and banned payment-per-signature.
Paying signature gatherers per-signature is the industry standard, even though critics claim that it invites fraud. Industry experts and ballot initiative rights supporters say that since initiative proponents only pay for valid signatures, it actually reduces fraud and increases productivity.
A state House Panel has passed a bill that would place several regulations on the ballot initiative process in Colorado. The measure would ban payment on a per-signature basis, require petition companies to register with the state, and move up the deadline to file signatures.