Staff’s blog

Last week we blogged about the dustup in Washington over whether or not the names and information of petition signers should be released to the public in the name of transparency.  The court ruled last week that the names did not have to be released.  This was a victory for the initiative & referendum process.

Last Saturday tens of thousands of Americans from every part of the country gathered on the National Mall in Washington, DC to protest recent and proposed massve increases in the power of the federal government. Among those who came to Washington to make their voices heard were Democrats, Republicans, independents, Libertarians and folks from all other political stripes.

In 1992, Colorado voters approved the Taxpayer Bill of Rights initiative at the ballot box.  This initiative capped the ability of the state government to raise taxes above a certain level.  The Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights is now coming under attack as Governor Bill Ritter looks outside the state government for support in getting a reform measure on the ballot in 2011.

Freedom of speech is one of the most important rights we have in this country.  Signing a petition for a ballot initiative you support is one of the many ways you can express your freedom of speech. petition signing

If Connecticut had state-wide initiative & referendum rights, citizens could hold accountable a government that promised not to raise the state’s tax level above a certain percentage.

Citizens in Charge Foundation President Paul Jacob, recently wrote one of his daily Common Sense columns about Connecticut’s tax troubles and the affect they can have on a state:

Connecticut used to be one of the go-to places for escaping state income taxes.

A couple of weeks ago we interviewed Virginia citizens outside a townhall in Reston, VA.  There was a lot of support from both sides of the aisle for bringing the process to the state and giving citizens more of a voice.  So why don’t Virginia citizens have initiative & referendum rights? Let’s take a look at the history…

Today, Citizens in Charge Foundation, presented Auburn, New York citizen David Schlegel with the September 2009 John Lilburne Award.  Mr. Schlegel is being recognized for standing up for the rights of citizens and actively pressuring his state representatives to enact a statewide process of initiative and referendum.NY Flag

The debate over marriage rights in Washington, DC heated up a little bit more recently as the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington entered the debate.  While the Archdiocese hasn’t officially endorsed the position of Bishop Harry Jackson in defending traditional marriage, it has announced support for a referendum on the issue.

The name Wisconsin is practically synonymous with Progressivism, yet
this state has never had a statewide initiative and referendum process.
Indeed, it is one of only three states where voters turned down their
opportunity to get it (Texas and Rhode Island are the others). The
circumstances were as follows.

In 1907 Lieutenant Governor W. D. Connor and State Senator W. D.
Brazeau took up the cause and secured approval in the state senate by a
19 to 5 vote, but lost in the lower house. The Progressive reformers had

Do you think it’s possible, in an age where so many of us get our information online, to harness the internet’s powers of communication as a tool for state-level direct democracy?

Some of our staff attended the Townhall Meeting in Reston, VA hosted by Congressman Jim Moran and Howard Dean on August 25th.  We asked some of the folks waiting outside what they thought about the initiative, referendum and recall process.  They all had great things to say and we found support for the process from both sides of the aisle.  Check out the video to hear what people said.

Suffrage Petition


Today marks the 89th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote.  On August 26th, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was certified by then Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby.  The 19th Amendment prohibits the government from denying anyone the right to vote based on their sex; it gave women the right to vote.

Bob the Voter's Best FriendCalifornia Assembly Bill 6 requires petition firms that pay petition circulators to register with the Secretary of State’s Office, pay a fee, and train their circulators on relevant laws. The intention is to “decrease fraudulent or illegal practices in signature gathering.” To me, this bill makes no sense.

Around the country support is growing for a Congressional audit of the Federal Reserve, and numerous groups have signed on to circulate a petition to gather signatures in support of the audit.