Elections are not just about choosing your representatives, political executives, and party standard bearers. Election season is about more than the horse race between Republicans and Democrats. For a large part of the country, election day is an important moment of direct democracy, through ballot initiatives and referendums. The initiative process allows citizens to directly vote on laws and state constitutional amendments. On FDL Elections, we hope provide some increased focus on this part of the democratic process, and want to hear about what state and local ballot initiatives are happening in your area.
Twenty-four states plus the District of Columbia allow for ballot initiatives, where regular people collect signatures to put a question up for a vote. Three other states don't allow ballot initiatives, but do allow for popular referendums, aka citizen veto, where citizens can force a popular vote on an existing law. All states allow for legislative referendums, where a part of the government can choose to put on issue up for a vote.
During this election season, millions of Americans will be voting on hundreds of different state and local ballot initiatives and referendums. Please share with us any good, bad, or frankly just weird ballot propositions that you might have the chance to vote on. Clearly, California's marijuana legalize ballot initiatives will be one of the most covered proposition in 2010, but it won't be the only important issue brought up for a popular vote. For example, also in California, proposition 16 (which is being pushed heavily by the private utility company PG&E), is a particularly egregious ballot initiative that deserves more attention.
Let us know if there are any state or local ballot initiatives that you are directly involved in, and what you are doing to help pass or defeat the initiatives. Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section.