Paul Jacob, President of Citizens In Charge Foundation, responds to a participants concerns on individual/constitutional rights with regards to the initiative and referendum process. http://www.youtube.com/CitizensInCharge
We’ve been telling you for some time about Maryland’s ridiculously strict requirements for a valid signature on a referendum petition. That requirement has taken out another effort by citizens to exercise their referendum rights in Howard County as 36% of their petition signatures were rejected.
Steven Allen Adams of the West Virginia Watchdog - a project of the Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia - and I talked yesterday about bringing ballot initiative and referendum rights to West Virginia (my home state). The first segment in a three-part on putting the voters in charge of the Mountain State is excerpted below:
Because Hawaiians have no statewide initiative or referendum rights, the Aloha State earned a “D” on our recently released state-by-state report card on initiative and referendum rights. We like to think that the state’s poor performance will prompt action to give the people more of a voice in government by creating an open and accessible initiative process. Unfortunately, at least one talking head in the state doesn’t want the people to have a greater say in their state government.
In the “Initiative & Referendum Almanac”, the principle reference text for those of us in the world of initiative and referendum, the section on New Jersey history starts out noting that “It is ironic that New Jersey, the state where the national initiative and referendum movement originated, never adopted provisions for I&R.” It’s not only ironic, but sad, because like citizens in the other 25 states that don’t recognize initiative and referendum rights, New Jersey citizens could ce
People around the country have been fighting against speed and red light cameras ever since they started dotting intersections and roadsides in the 1990’s. In many states this policy debate is moving to the ballot, where initiative and referendum rights are able to give voters a voice on an issue that is often decided by unelected law enforcement and highway officials.
I came across an article in the Nashville Scene earlier today and found it to be an interesting take on the idea and practice of a non-binding referendum.
Richard Winger at Ballot Access News uses a situation in Maine to make a great point about the many and often absurd reasons that petition signatures can be challenged around the country:
We asked attendees what they thought about the initiative, referendum and recall process.