Voters can be sophisticated. In 2018, a majority of the voters in Florida voted for a conservative governor, but they also voted to give prisoners the right to vote, something the Republican Governor had opposed. The voters showed that they were able to distinguish measures from men. Politics is not just about tribal partisanship. Voters demand more choice. And they are able to exercise their judgement. Florida is not unique. This is a global trend. A large majority of voters all over the world – according to opinion polls – want more referendums. But are they capable of making decisions on complex issues? And aren’t such votes an invitation to ill-considered populism? This book answers these questions and shows what the effect of referendums have on public policy, on welfare and well-being, and outlines how some of the criticisms of referendums and initiatives can be remedied.
. Bates, ruled that the
average voter could not have understood proposition 140 (a ballotmeasure which imposed lifetime term limits on certain state positions). Jones v. Bates is but one of many recent examples of judicial
intervention in the initiative process. In the past decade over half of all
voter-approved initiatives (in the states which most frequently use the
initiative) have been challenged in the courts (54 per cent), and in more
than half of the cases (55 per cent), the courts have invalidated part or
all of the challenged initiative. It should be noted
, imposed new
transparency requirements on Amtrak – was introduced by a bi-partisan group in the House of Representatives, including Pennsylvania
Republican Bill Shuster and Oregon Democrat Peter DeFazio,
and passed 316–101, with 132 Republicans and 184 Democrats
in favor.84 Similarly, in November 2017, the voters of Boulder,
Colorado enacted new transparency requirements as part of the
effort to municipalize their local electric utility. Frustrated that the
city council had conducted many municipalization-related meetings
behind closed doors, voters approved a ballot
significant state or public interest in curtailing debate and
discussion of a ballotmeasure”. And he added that
“the integrity of the political system will be adequately
protected if contributors are identified in a public filing
revealing the amounts contributed” 27 .
Thus, in America campaign contributions are treated as
a First Amendment
design. In the case of Australia, an additional variable to measure the
use of ticket voting is included. Another variable related to the ballotmeasures if party labels are stated on STV ballots. The electoral quota
is excluded because it measures a similar phenomenon to the number
of valid votes (there is an extremely high correlation of 0.98 between
the two variables). In any case, valid votes is a more suitable variable
because independents are focused on attracting as many votes as possible; achieving just a quota, which is sometimes the aim of party
numbers of frequent referendums can lead to a lower turnout.
D. Schmidt (1989) Citizen Lawmakers: The Ballot Initiative Revolution,
Philadelphia, Temple University Press, p. 50.
Dan Smith and Caroline Tolbert (2004) Educated by Initiative: The Effects of
Direct Democracy on Citizens and Political Organisations, Ann Arbor, Michigan
University Press, p. 62.
Smith and Tolbert, Educated by Initiative, p. 62.
Cited by S. Burrish (2006) ‘BallotMeasures Spur High Turnout’, Sioux Falls
Argus, 8 November.
Citizen initiated referendums41