Ballot Initiative Case Study

1437 Words6 Pages
The ballot initiative process is a primary way for Californians to participate in direct democracy. Ballot initiatives allow voters to voice and/or pass a proposed statute or constitutional amendment. Proponents resort to the initiative process for two main reasons. First, proponents view initiatives as a way to bypass the legislature; after the legislature has rejected their proposal, proponents believe they can achieve a more desirable outcome by appealing directly to the people (Rarick, 138). Second, proponents use the initiative process to prevent reversal by future legislatures. In other words, they are able to “lock in their gains” because the legislature cannot amend or repeal initiatives without voter consent (Rarick, 138).
The force
…show more content…
Status Quo & Policy Alternatives
Currently, sponsors of ballot initiative campaigns are not limited to a particular amount, which affords leverage such as expertise in public opinion polling, computer-targeted mailing, and television advertising to the wealthier party. To combat the defects of this form of direct democracy, reformers have proposed several policy alternatives. One alternative is to provide better information. According to a 2002 state commission and recent report by the Center for Governmental Studies, roughly a third of initiatives since 2000 have more than 5000 words, which is too long and too confusing for the majority of voters (Mathews and Paul, 173). Another alternative is to raise restrictions on the process (e.g. limiting the issues subject to initiative or raising the number of signatures required to qualify an initiative). Another idea is to remove money from the process; some groups have sought to impose limits on donations to initiative campaigns and ban paid petition
…show more content…
The general perception of voters is that they are ill-informed and ill-equipped to vote on complex measures. Nonetheless, Ethan Rarick argues that voters generally act rationally and that they “rely on cues such as endorsements from people or organizations they trust to make their decisions.” (143). By providing more information and resources to voters, more constituents will be able to vote wisely and
Open Document