"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Initiative Petitions – An Important Part of a Vibrant Democracy

October 13th, 2009 by mopns · No Comments

The Jefferson City News Tribune’s recent editorial that alleges misuse of ballot initiatives is not only wrong, it demonstrates a complete lack of understanding about the way state government works. Their charge that there are too many initiatives misses the mark entirely, as they use the federal constitution’s relative stability as a benchmark. If you ask anyone who took a state government course in college, they will tell you that state constitutions are more malleable and are amended more often because they perform a much more specific and localized function than the federal constitution.

Not only do they fail to comprehend one of the most elementary differences between state government and federal government, they encourage the public – the base of people from which a government’s power is drawn – to limit involvement in government through the petition process. To make the anti-petition argument is, in essence, to say that government works better when left alone. Common sense will tell you that is not the case.

We the people control government. The initiative petition is an important right for the people to retain control of their government. Government officials often forget that they work for us – it is voters who give them their power and voters who can take it away. Petitions are one of the best ways for us to pick up the slack when government will not accomplish the goals that we seek. We should not stop using petitions. If anything, we should add the ability to recall government officials like in California so we can throw out more of the inactive or obstructionist legislators.

Related:

Citizens in Charge Foundation: Ballot Initiative Primer

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