Staff’s blog

Citizens in Charge Foundation has named Linda Curtis, Executive Director of Independent Texans, as the April 2009 recipient of the John Lilburne Award for her commitment to expanding and protecting the rights of Texas citizens to petition their government and voice their opinions.

Did you know that ballot initiative and referendum (I&R) has existed in some form in this country since the 1600s. Citizens of New England placed ordinances and other issues on the agenda for discussion and then a vote during town meetings.

Thomas Jefferson was the first of our founding fathers to propose legislative referendum when he advocated for its addition in the 1775 Virginia state constitution…(Read More)

Back in December, the Maryland Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision that mandated signatures on referendum petitions exactly mirror signatures on voter registration cards. So, if someone is registered as “John Paul Smith” but signs a petition “John P. Smith” or “John Smith” then his signature is not counted. Dubbed the “mirror law”, referendum process supporters have charged that it makes it impossible to mount a successful referendum campaign in the state.

The Oklahoman’s for Responsible Government blog reports that a bill which would significantly open up the initiative process sailed through the state’s Senate Rules Committee. As I’ve talked about before, Oklahoma currently has some of the most restrictive initiative laws in the country.

Is this a good or bad idea?

Wed, Apr 1 2009 by Staff

We recently ran across this video from Oregon. Do you think a Citizens’ Inistiatve Review board is a good or bad idea?

What we're up against

Tue, Mar 31 2009 by Staff

We often talk on this blog about threats to the initiative and referendum process, but this recent article in the Colorado Independent illustrates more concretely what initiative rights proponents are up against.

We want to hear from you, should every vote count? VOTE NOW!

If you are in the Metro DC area please join us this Wednesday, April 1st for a unique happy hour. “Citizens On Tap” is an informal gathering of friends and colleagues seeking mutual understanding over a pint of beer (or wine…?) Join in the fun this Wednesday!

Citizens On Tap

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About the organizers:

Several state activists have used the initiative and referendum (I&R) process to pass Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) legislation.

TABOR is seen by some as a way of limiting the growth of government. It requires increases in overall state government spending to be tied to inflation and population increases.

Yesterday, Citizens in Charge Foundation President Paul Jacob was in Missouri testifying against House Bill 228. The legislation would harm the initiative and referendum process by imposing a residency restriction, banning the payment of petition circulators on a per signature basis and prohibiting citizens from carrying more than one petition at a time.

Recently news has focused on the battle over petitions and the intent of the voter.

Petition and petition circulators are hot button issues in states with the initiative and referendum process (I&R). Each year hundreds of petition gathers (a.k.a. petition circulators) collect thousands of signatures from voters on a large array of issues. And every year thousands are invalidated because of mistakes made by notary, the petition circulator or government official.

The Oklahoma House will consider two initiative and referndum bills already passed by the Senate. SB 800 will allow a petition to be rejected before signatures are collected if it contains legal mistakes. This change is aimed at preventing initiative supporters from gathering signatures only to have a petition thrown off the ballot.

Today Paul Jacob, President of Citizens in Charge, will be in Missouri helping local citizens fight for their voting rights.

Local activists have invited Paul to Missouri to discuss the importance of the ballot initiative process. In an email to local voters, the Missourians write:

Linda Curtis of Independent Texans relays how several activists showed up in a state Senate hearing yesterday to protest SB 690, a bill that would essentially strip Texans of their local initiative process by more than doubling the signature requirement. Linda notes that Mike Ford of Initiative for Texas, and a Citizens in Charge Foundation board member, was on hand to defend the initiative process.

Citizens in Charge Foundation, a national voter rights group focused on the initiative and referendum process, has named Oklahoma State Senator Randy Brogdon and Oklahoma State Representative Randy Terrill as the March 2009 recipients of the John Lilburne Award.