SC, NJ Need the Initiative

Thu, Oct 16 2014 by Neal Hobson

In the last week, calls for citizens to have the right to initiative and referendum have been heard loud and clear in New Jersey and South Carolina.

In tackling the issue of marijuana legalization, New Jersey Star Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine longs for a way voters can decide, writing “if only we had I&R here in New Jersey.”

He’s not sure Colorado voters got it right in legalizing pot, but notes, “Polls show Coloradans are evenly divided on legalization - as are New Jersey voters. The difference is that there they can gather signatures to reverse it if they so desire. Here we’re stuck with whatever the politicians hand us.”

Likewise, Charleston, South Carolina’s Post and Courier newspaper, in an editorial about the need for term limits to deter political corruption, bemoaned that, “Unfortunately, South Carolina voters don’t have the right to force a statewide referendum.”

The paper went on to argue, “Like term limits, initiative petition can help forestall the abuse of official power.

“Inherent in the power to call for a referendum via a sufficient petition of registered voters is the authority for public recall of elected officials. That’s another needed reform that has been denied South Carolina voters.

“And that’s a scandal, too.”

Voters in both states overwhelmingly favor a statewide process of initiative and referendum. A 2010 Pulse Opinion poll found that New Jersey voters support I&R 68 to 14 percent, and South Carolinians favor the process by 70 to 10 percent.

Paul Mulshine in NJ Star Ledger: Marijuana saps initiative - and referendum; so does Chris Christie: Read More

Post & Courier editorial: Term limits deter corruption: Read More