Missouri State Rep. Mike ParsonMike Parson hates voters, that is the only thing we can conclude. Why else would he try year after year to gut Missouri voters’ ballot initiative process?

Nebraska resident Kent Bernbeck has filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on paying campaign workers who circulate petitions by the signature and requirement that petition circulators be over the age of 18.

United States District Court Judge Robert Holmes Bell has made Michigan the ninth state to see a requirement that campaign workers who circulate petitions be residents of the state struck down. In 2008 federal appeals courts struck down residency requirements in Ohio, Arizona and Oklahoma. Residency requirements of some kind have previously been ruled unconstitutional in California, Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, and New York.

Free Speech Writ LargeLast week, as I was writing about some of the ways the peoples’ voice is silenced, the St. Louis, Missouri police were busy silencing Gustavo Rendon by taking away his first amendment right to free speech.

Last month, Ohio state representative Jennifer Garrison announced a plan for what she inappropriately refers to as a “Ballot Integrity Act”. The proposal would require people who help initiative and referendum campaigns collect signatures, and the companies they work for, to go through an onerous and potentially expensive registration process before they could work on a petition campaign.The law would also allow voters’ signatures to be thrown out because of mistakes made by campaign workers.

After blogging yesterday about some of the petty ways initiative opponents try to block people from excercising their voting rights by throwing out their signatures on a petition, I started thinking about the wider struggle to protect those rights. Special interests and many politicians simply don’t like the initiative process because it threatens their hold on power. The last thing they want is for you, the voter, to have a say in how their government is run.

While state legislators and special interests continue to call for restrictions on what they call a flawed citizen initiative system, yet another report has come out indicating that California’s budget woes are the fault of the legislature, not the voters and the initiative process. The nonpartisan Center for Governmental Studies has found in a preliminary report that legislators outspend the public at the ballot box nearly four-to-one!

I am writing to provide an update on the CB58-2008 referendum petition drive that started last November after the Howard County Maryland Council approved a 300% zoning increase for the size of grocery stores in Turf Valley.You may recall that citizens gathered over 9,300 signatures to place this legislation on the ballot for voters to decide in the 2010 election.

At a time when Californians’ ballot initiative & referendum rights have been under sustained attack, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed three bills that he believes would harm grassroots petitioning efforts.

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!

Citizens in Charge Foundation President Paul Jacob has some harsh words in the New York Times for new Oregon restrictions on the ballot initiative process:

You can still fight City Hall, but it’s not going to be as easy or as cheap as it used to be.The City Council has instituted a $500 deposit for filing a referendum, and a proposal before the council tonight would add language to limit the time for collecting signatures.

The deposit requirement surfaced after the council discussed a local fuel tax, and local business owners virtually promised they would ask voters to approve any tax the council approved.

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.