Staff’s blog

Here at Citizens in Charge Foundation, we encourage people to petition their government about whatever concerns them. We’ve found that people have a wide variety of concerns to petition about. One example is a Lafayette, IN petition to allow urban chicken farming.

While the petition is unofficial, over 200 residents have signed in favor of allowing chickens in the city. We’re not sure how the city council will eventually rule, but we’re always glad to see people petition their government.

The power of initiative and referendum has been withheld from Rhode Islanders for over a century. Voters advised the legislature to provide for an initiative process, but that request was ignored by the state legislature. You can read the history of the battle in Rhode Island here.

Mass Mailing Fun

Fri, Aug 14 2009 by Staff

What better way to spend a Friday than printing, folding, stamping and stuffing thousands of pieces of paper for a mass mailing?  We here at Citizens in Charge Foundation came out of our offices today and gathered in the conference room for some group bonding — and papercuts.

As you can see in this group action shot, we’re all hard at work folding while Jonathan gently persuades the printer that there is no paper jam (mild language warning).

Mailing Photo

We have had a pretty busy year working to expand the initiative process here at Oklahomans for Initiative Rights. But, as the History of Initiative & Referendum page here on the Citizens in Charge Foundation site can tell you, the fight for citizen-controlled government in Oklahoma has been going on for 110 years! The battle for initiative rights started before Oklahoma was even a state, and I can promise you it isn’t about to stop!


Common Sense: Rising Recalls

Thu, Aug 13 2009 by Staff

Nearly twice as many efforts to recall public officials are underway this year than last, according to Citizens in Charge Foundation President Paul Jacob. In his daily Common Sense commentary, Paul points out several of the recall efforts from around the country, many of which have been mentioned on this site.

Moving On to California

Wed, Aug 12 2009 by Staff

Here at Citizens in Charge Foundation we are very happy that our recently departed Communications Director Bettina Inclan has started a great new endeavor in California.  While we were sad to see her go, she will be doing great work on the West Coast.  Check out a few news articles on her new adventure here, here and

Election Bloopers

Tue, Aug 11 2009 by Staff

I ran across this on the FAILBlog website the other day, and I couldn’t help but laugh at this poor Councilman’s misfortune.  Talk about shooting yourself in the foot!

One widely held belief is that every initiative that makes it to the ballot is a citizen-led effort, but that is not the case.  More often than not the ballot measure you hear about in the news or the one you are voting on was probably referred by your state legislature.  While legislatures in all 50 states can put measures on the ballot in one form or another, only 24 states allow citizens to do the same.

BobWhile searching through countless bills across the nation in an attempt to provide an open and accessible voting process, I continually stumble across legislation that begs the question, “What were they thinking?” Most recently Nevada Senate Bill 212, which passed through the Legislature this year and was signed into effect on June 4th. As it turns out, this bill makes a change that has been struck down in federal court twice!

The Citizens in Charge Foundation page on the history of ballot initiative & referendum in New Jersey begins:

It is ironic that New Jersey, the state where the national initiative and
referendum movement originated, never adopted provisions for I&R.
Certainly it was not for lack of enthusiasm among New Jersey’s I&R

Here at Citizens in Charge Foundation we work on protecting and expanding the ballot initiative process at the state and local level. Former US Senator Mike Gravel has long been a proponent of a National Initiative for Democracy, and he explains his plan in this video courtesy of the Blockbuster Democracy Blog.

(LAKE RIDGE, VA) – Today, Citizens in Charge Foundation, a transpartisan national voter rights group focused on the ballot initiative and referendum process, presented Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund with the August 2009 John Lilburne Award.  Mr. Fund is being recognized for standing up for the rights of citizens and defending the initiative process from attacks.

The Obama Justice Department has been slammed for attempting to meddle with a ballot initiative in Oklahoma. Several state lawmakers sent a “stern letter” to Attorney General Eric Holder blasting a letter sent by his office in April.

Health care reform continues to dominate the national discussion. Americans are considering all their options on how to pay for the reform and exactly how to improve the system. In Arizona the voters are trying to decide for themselves on how their state will deal with this important issue. They are showing their power at the ballot box.

In his daily commentary called Common Sense, Paul Jacob writes about Arizona and states:

The fight continues in South Dakota over banning smoking in state bars and restaurants. The focus is now on how referendum petitions were notarized, and the voices of over 2000 voters could be silenced in the debate.