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Downfalls Of The Initiative Process Essay

2798 words - 11 pages

Downfalls of California's Initiative ProcessIn November 2008 California state elections, Propositions 8 was a California ballot proposition which flourished several debates whether it was constitutional for people to marry from the same-sex. Opponents of same-sex marriage had several intentions on banning same-sex marriage though the United States and accomplished to do so in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Maryland, Washington, California, Delaware, Rhode Island, Minnesota, New Jersey, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Illinois. This is an example of the process, the Initiative Process, in which people of the United States permits voters to place legislation measures, and every so often constitutional amendments directly on the ballot by getting an adequate amount of signatures, typically between 5 and 15 percent of those who voted in the last election, on a petition (Frank, "Propositions, Initiatives and Referendums: What's the Difference"). Californians implemented the initiative process on October 10, 1911, becoming the tenth state to implement this form of direct democracy; it offered to the the voters a power equal to the power of legislative branch of state government. The initiative process itself has undertaken major changes over the last 25 years. Today, one could pronounce it as the "initiative industrial complex," given the number of companies providing services such as signature gathering, legal services, and campaign consulting that are now integral and seemingly indispensable to the process (Silva, 2). The initiative process is a process that can take place year-round not having anything to do with the two year election cycle. As initially established in California, there were two initiative processes addressable: the direct and the indirect initiatives. A comparison of the two processes is made by Silva, "The direct initiative process allows voters to place a proposed statute or an amendment to the Constitution directly on the ballot. If a majority of the voters approve the measure, it becomes law. The direct initiative as practiced in California is designed to bypass the legislative process." As noted later, the legislature's only role in the direct initiative is to hold a legislative committee hearing 30 days prior to the election (Silva, 2). The California Initiative process if often misused and misunderstood and that is why it's not beneficial to the state of California. Although the California Initiative process is a way to give people a chance to raise their voices it is not a very beneficial process because citizens are not prepared to decide on complex matters of public policies (uniformed voters), it threatens minority and individual rights (corruption/corporate influence), and has a negative economic impact. The Initiative process has produced an immense opportunity for the people as Broder further explains, "Since 1998 voters throughout the country were able to ratify laws by using the...

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