Archives for March 2011

Citizens in Charge President Paul Jacob submitted the letter below today to Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler. Secretary Gessler set a hearing for today on using his rulemaking authority to clean up part of a 2009 law that places petition proponents in danger of personal legal attacks. The rule change comes as the result of a broad-based effort led by Citizens in Charge to get the Secretary to weigh in.

The three-year-old saga of Maryland’s draconian requirement that petition signatures match exactly the signature on a voter’s registration card is not closer to resolution. An appeal to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals was denied Monday. The federal court decided to punt, saying there are no federal issues and sending the matter back once again to state court.

As we mentioned last week on our website and on this blog, Utah’s Governor recently signed a bill that outlaws using electronically collected signatures in a petition campaign.

Utah State University students were also upset at the governor for signing the bill into law, but for slightly different reasons than we here at Citizens in Charge were:

As states around the country tackle redistricting based on the 2010 census, the new population numbers also make things harder for some initiative proponents.

From Ballot Box News:

Because the 2010 census shows that North Dakota’s population increased 4.7% compared to 2000…election law numerical requirements will now rise 4.7%, for the period covering the next ten years. North Dakota’s Secretary of State says the increase applies immediately, even to initiatives that are currently circulating.

NE FlagNebraskans’ petition rights have survived another legislative session. With the deadline to make it out of committee passed, no more legislation concerning the initiative process is pending.

(LAKE RIDGE, VA) – Today, Citizens in Charge Foundation, a national voter rights group focused on the ballot initiative and referendum process, presented Washington state senators Don Benton and Pam Roach with the March 2011 John Lilburne Award for their outstanding work in successfully defeating Senate Bill 5297,  legislation that would have severely restricted Washington’s initiative process.

“Good riddance to SB 5297, which would have been a disaster for Washington’s initiative process,” said Citizens in Charge Foundation President Paul Jacob. “Both Senator Don Benton and Senator Pam Roach deserve a ton of the credit for defeating it.”

You may recall our previous stories and articles on the events transpiring in Boulder City, Nevada. Citizens there have been repeatedly sued by their own city council…for the horrible act of collecting signatures and putting measures on the ballot for a vote.

Citizens decided to take to the streets to make their displeasure known:

The Massachusetts Legislature is currently working to double the number of signatures citizens would need to place a measure on the ballot. Citizens in Charge President Paul Jacob sent a letter to each Massachusetts Senator and Representative calling on them to oppose this restriction on citizen rights:

Maryland’s Court of Appeals decided Tuesday that petition signatures cannot be disqualified solely because they are illegible. The majority opinion of the state’s highest court says,

We hold that a signature on a petition for referendum is but one component of the voter’s identity that is to be considered in the validation process… An illegible signature, on its own, does not preclude validation.

MD Flag

As members of the Florida Senate Rules Subcomittee voted in favor of stripping away state petition rights by placing severe burdens on signature collection, Senator Paula Dockery stood up for the people, saying:

“We’re making it easier for the Legislature and harder for citizens to amend their constitution,” Dockery said. “And I fundamentally disagree with that premise.”



Utah has suddenly exploded with initiative & referendum related news. You may recall last year we held a joint press conference with Utahns for Ethical Government as they attempted to defend their right to put a measure on the ballot. They are still trying to get their ethics commission measure on the ballot and it seems that the Utah Legislature and Governor are doing everything they can to stop it. To the courts we go:

Setting the Record Straight

Mon, Mar 21 2011 by Staff

Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge want to set the record straight with regards to our February 2011 Lilburne Award Winners: Tracy and Linda Strickland.

It seems there was some confusion on the part of one Boulder City resident about the nature of the award and how and why we give it. You can view his blog post here.

Today, Citizens in Charge Foundation president Paul Jacob sent the following letter to the author of the blog post:

Mr. Stubbs,