Archives for January 2010

It’s great that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn called for Illinois citizens to be able to put ethical reform measures on the ballot, but why stop there? Shouldn’t they be allowed to vote on tax and spending issues as well? What about marriage, school bonds, or smoking bans?

(LAKE RIDGE, VA) – Today, Citizens in Charge Foundation, a transpartisan national voter rights group focused on the ballot initiative and referendum process, presented The Citizen Power Campaign with the January 2010 John Lilburne Award.  The group is being recognized for making the initiative process open & accessible to citizens by utilizing new technology in signature gathering campaigns.

Those were the words of Shannon Thomason of the Big Spring, TX Concerned CitizensNews 9 Council. Trevor Ford and I traveled to Big Spring this week to find out why the city council went so far as to violate Texas public meeting law to hold an emergency meeting to prevent a tax rollback from making the citywide ballot.

Howard County, TXWhen we heard about the trouble that folks in Big Spring, Texas were having with the city council stifling their petition rights, we decided to head down to the Lone Star state and see if we could help out.

It looks as though the citizens of Louisiana are going to try and use a recall petition on Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu. The right to recall an elected official is something Citizens in Charge Foundation supports. There aren’t usually as many high profile stories in the world of recall, but every now and then a prominent official is subjected to recall, this will be interesting to watch.


In Washington, DC the calls for a referendum on gay marriage in the city continue, and in California a judge ruled that the Proposition 8 trial will filmed and uploaded onto YouTube. The marriage debate lives on, and the initiative process is in the middle of it.

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.

Collecting hundreds of thousands of signatures to place an initiative on the ballot is a tough task that may get easier in the future. A company in Silicon Valley recently unveiled a new smart-phone application that would allow a citizen to sign a petition electronically. Instead of signing a petition in a grocery store parking lot, a citizen could sign it in the comfort of their own home.

This has raised legal questions of course, and California state officials will need to figure out if signing a petition via phone complies with the law.

UFO Commission

Tue, Jan 5 2010 by Staff

Late last year we noted that an initiative out in Denver, Colorado will be on the ballot this year to creat a UFO Commission to educate people about the possibility of extra-terrestrials. This initiative has gotten some press and the man behind the initiative is now calling on President Obama to “tear down the wall of UFO secrecy.”

What do you think should be done about this issue?


An International Look

Tue, Jan 5 2010 by Staff

I put this up on our newswire this morning, but thought I would mention it here in the blog as well. Activists in Spain gathered nearly 200,000 signatures in order to get a vote in the Catalan parliament to ban bullfighting.

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.