Staff’s blog

Political pundits are always trying to figure out what is “wrong” with things. They attempt to point the finger at what they don’t like to explain their point of view is correct.

It is no secret many people upset with the results of the California’s most recent ballot measures and are blaming the process. We all know “spendaholic” politicians and activists don’t like the initiative process because they can’t use taxpayer funds with unlimited discretion.

The Oregon Legislature gave final approval yesterday to House Bill 2005, which is aimed at restricting the state’s initiative process. Among the provisions in the bill are a 40-fold increase in fines for petition fraud and the ability of the Secretary of State to do background checks on petition signature collectors.

This weekend Paul Jacob spoke at the National Taxpayer Union’s National Taxpayers Conference about the power of the initiative and referendum (I&R) process.

Paul’s main comments focused on how regular grassroots activists can set the agenda and gain momentum on their issues by using I&R. He also makes the point that I&R has been a taxpayer’s best friend, as ballot measures have helped control government spending.

Watch a clip of Paul’s speech:

California’s ballot measures have received a lot of media attention in the last few months. Some want to blame the state’s problems on the initiative and referendum process. Paul Jacob disagrees.

In his Common Sense commentary, Prop 13 Declared Innocent, he explains why.
Prop 13 Declared Innocent.

Voters in Nevada are under attack by their state legislature.

Recently the Nevada legislature voted to make the ballot initiative process much, much harder. New legislation would effectively shut out regular citizens out of the process.

In his daily commentary, Common Sense, Paul Jacob discusses the actions in Nevada in A Law to Be Named Later. He writes:

Ballot Access News reports that Arizona Senate Bill 1091 has been assigned to a committee and will probably get a hearing.

We hope you can join us for our next Citizens On Tap, an informal gathering of friends and colleagues seeking mutual understanding over a pint of beer (or wine…?) If you are in the D.C. metro / Northern Virginia area, please stop by and enjoy the fun, Today, Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at Hunan One in Arlington, VA. Meet us at the bar and check in. The first round is on us.


Please RSVP to

Ballot initiative rights activists continue to criticize Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry for his veto of a popular bi-partisan reform bill over the weekend. HB 2246 would have opened up Oklahoma’s toughest-in-the-nation initiative process and protected voters and signature gatherers from harassment.

Oklahoma Governor Says No

Sat, Jun 6 2009 by Staff

Today Oklahoma Governor Henry vetoed HB 2246, a bill that would have extended the period to collect signatures from 90 days to one year.

Activists are upset with this latest development as Oklahoma currently has the most restrictive ballot initiative and referendum process in the nation. The bill would have gone a long way in improving the states process.

Throughout the month of June we will be looking at the history and impact of the ballot initiative, referendum and recall process.

These reforms, which started gaining popularity in the late 1800s, can be traced to the political philosophy of one of our founding father, Thomas Jefferson.

We wanted to start the series with a great piece by Paul Jacob, the President of the Citizens In Charge Foundation. For over 10 years Paul has hosted and authored Common Sense, a daily radio commentary.

Today the Buffalo News reported citizens in New York are taking charge of their government. The state has made it easier to bring issues to a vote.

The author of the bill, Attorney General Andrew Cuomos hopes the legislation will empower voters and create a more efficient local government.

The article states:

Several gay-rights groups from across the country are developing databases of names and address of people who signed petitions supporting traditional marriage measures. These searchable databases would be put on the Internet open to all interested parties.

A group called has already placed names of traditional marriage supporters on he Internet in states like Oregon, Florida and Arkansas.

New grassroots video update

Tue, Jun 2 2009 by Staff

Grassroots Director Brandon Holmes provides a new update on what local activists are doing to protect and expand the ballot initiative process throughout the nation.

Today, Citizens in Charge Foundation, a transpartisan national voter rights group focused on the ballot initiative and referendum process, presented Nevada State Senator Terry Care with the June 2009 John Lilburne Award. Senator Care is being recognized for standing up for the rights of Nevada voters and trying to stop legislation that would shut Nevadans out of the ballot initiative process.

Yesterday, Senator Care cast the only vote against Senate Bill 212 aimed at stifling the ballot initiative process.

A bill aimed at restricting citizen ballot initative use in Nevada passed the state Senate Sunday. Senate Bill 212 will require signatures to be collected in each of the state’s three congressional districts until 2011. The Legislature would then come up with some undefined “petition district” from which signatures would have to be collected.