Got a ballot measure for 2016? You’re in luck.
Ballot initiatives two years from now will need about 30 percent fewer qualifying signatures than they did this year, according to the political-consulting types at Sacramento’s Redwood Pacific Public Affairs.
The reason: abysmal turnout for the Nov. 4 election. California requires valid signatures equal to 8 percent of the most recent gubernatorial vote to qualify a constitutional amendment for the ballot, 5 percent for regular laws and veto referenda.
Colorado’s leading opponent of citizen control of government, Rep. Lois Court (D-Denver), is at it again. Court is seeking to amend the state’s constitution to ratchet-up the requirements for citizen-initiated petitions — something she has attempted repeatedly during her tenure in the legislature.
Rep. Court’s House Concurrent Resolution 2 would fully double the minimum signature threshold for initiative constitutional amendments, from the current 86,104 to a whopping 172,208. The amendment would also impose a new distribution requirement, mandating that a minimum number of valid signatures be gathered from each of the state’s seven congressional districts to qualify a petition.
State lawmakers will try once again to place a measure onto the ballot to change the way ballot measures get onto the ballot.
Rep. Lois Court said she’s hopeful this time Colorado voters will agree that something needs to be done to protect the state’s Constitution from contradictory proposals that oftentimes aren’t written well, or have far-reaching unintended consequences.
The Denver Democrat, who is one of a long line of lawmakers regardless of political ilk to attempt such changes, hopes this effort will be more successful than previous attempts.
Unlike those efforts, including Referendum O in 2008 that lost by less than 3 percentage points, Court’s new idea would make only a few changes, and focuses only on proposed constitutional amendments.
Backers of the initiative petitions filed in recent weeks with the city need around 6,000 valid signatures to call a vote.
That number is going up after last week’s mayoral election.
The signature requirement is based on turnout in the most recent city-wide election.
Read More: here
Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed labor union-backed legislation Saturday that would have limited the use of paid signature gatherers to qualify statewide ballot initiatives in California.
Assembly Bill 857, by Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, would have required anyone seeking to qualify an initiative for the statewide ballot to use non-paid volunteers to collect at least 10 percent of signatures.
Read more here: here
The skirmish over the anti-initiative Assembly Bill 857 will reach a climax very soon, as California governor Jerry Brown is set to either sign or veto the bill within a week’s time.
The bill would place a restriction on all petition signature-gathering efforts, requiring 10% of the total verified signatures be collected by volunteers. This would mean more than 50,000 signatures would need to be gathered if a petition’s requirement was based on the last gubernatorial election (which puts the total requirement at just over 500,000).
Organized labor has every right to promote initiatives. Labor-backed initiatives often resonate with the electorate and occasionally with editorial boards.
But labor doesn’t deserve a special edge. For this reason, Gov. Jerry Brown should veto Assembly Bill 857, a loaded piece of legislation that masquerades as initiative reform.
Assemblyman Paul Fong, a Silicon Valley Democrat, said in three press releases that he proposed to “ensure the sanctity of the initiative process” by requiring that unpaid volunteers gather some signatures to qualify statewide ballot measures.
Read more of this editorial: here
An initiative which would raise the minimum wage in the area of SeaTac, Washington’s international airport has been halted, at least temporarily, by the courts. Judge Andrea Darvas ruled that 61 signatures, the latest in a great number of signatures which were eliminated in the verification process, were also invalid due to duplicate signatures.
Advocates of the initiative originally had 2,506 signatures that were turned in in June. Normally, this would be more than sufficient to qualify the initiative. However more than 800 signatures were invalidated, and thus left a narrow margin of 43 signatures which were then cut down again by Judge Darvas’ decision, leaving the campaign 18 short.
On June 28, the Lucy Burns Institute released a summary of news related to the Initiative and Referendum process. Several court cases, news stories and bills to watch are profiled.
Read more: here.
Arizona legislators and Governor Jan Brewer snuck one past the citizens of the Grand Canyon state in the final hours of this year’s seemingly never-ending legislative session. Legislators passed House Bill 2305, a sweeping new elections law that, among other suppressive features, allows officials to throw out perfectly valid signatures of Arizona voters on initiatives, referendums and recalls on the slightest of hyper-technical grounds.
Though Democrats protest that Governor Jan Brewer promised she would veto this legislation, she signed the controversial legislation into law last week.
The state Senate on Friday rejected a measure that would have made it harder for people to get their proposals on the Arkansas ballot - a plan that was opposed by an unlikely alliance of liberal and conservative activists.
The proposal would have made it more difficult for ballot campaigns to win more time to circulate petitions. If approved by the Legislature, the measure would have appeared on next year’s ballot as a proposed amendment to the state constitution. The Senate rejected it on an 11-13 vote.
Read more: from the Associated Press
When laws are broken, what’s the best response? Should we prosecute the law-breakers?
Or pass yet new laws?
Unfortunately, not a single “bad actor” has been prosecuted for any of the alleged acts of fraud. Not one. Instead, Arkansas legislators have proposed new laws to punish the good citizen seeking to take part in the political process right along with the bad actor.
Last week, Federal Judge Philip A. Brimmer overturned Colorado’s law limiting productivity pay – pay based on the number of signatures gathered – to no more than 20 percent of total pay for people circulating initiative and referendum petitions.
Despite pleas to slow down and reconsider portions of a bill that would limit how long signatures can be collected for ballot initiatives, the House will vote this week on the measure that already has Senate approval.
Senate Bill 47 was voted out of the House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee yesterday afternoon on a 9-5 vote after former Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner advised the committee members, “If you pass this lickety-split, it’s going to make you look bad.”
No one testified at yesterday’s hearing in favor of the petition part of the bill, though a representative from the Ohio Association of Election Officials spoke in support of other parts of the bill.
Maryland’s Constitution provides recourse, the referendum, to those who believe bad laws are on the books or new laws are necessary. The general idea is, let’s put it to a vote.
The process for getting a referendum question on the statewide ballot begins with gathering a certain number of signatures on a petition. Enough signatures, and the ballot question becomes one of your choices on Election Day.
But what about those signatures Who gets to sign How are the signatures to be gathered Who can gather them How many are necessary Two bills before the General Assembly address these questions. If passed, they would put up possibly insurmountable obstacles to the referendum process.