1. Not only did all lose, but except for the minor’s pregnancy and public union dues, all lost by landslides. Even the two that weren’t landslides lost by bigger margins than Bush got in winning (at least according to the official figures) in 2004.

    Initiatives currently require the signatures of 5% of the number of voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election, 8% if the initiative proposes constitutional change. With turnout hovering around 50%, that means that 2.5% of all registered voters are all that’s needed to get an initiative on the ballot. In my view the initiative process has been WAY out of control for at least 20 years. The initiatives are all poorly written, inspire decades of litigation, and are getting increasingly complex. To bring it back, let’s change the initiative threshold to something that preserves the right of the population to override the legislature if necessary, but high enough that it better be pretty serious, something like 30% of REGISTERED voters for normal initiatives and 35% for constitutional ones.

    For people with short memories, the initiative process has far more often been used successfully by right-wing extremists than by any other group. The first really big example was Proposition 14 in 1964 which, in spite of the fact that California went big time for Johnson (then considered a liberal), overturned the fair housing act that prohibited discrimination in housing sales and rentals. I’m frankly quite surprised that the abortion measure didn’t squeak through, but I’m due for an occasional pleasant surprise.

  2. Yes, the proposition process is badly broken and easily manipulated. Excellent idea, let’s amend it so serious numbers of voters must ok it being on the ballot.

    And maybe even say that those collecting signatures must be unpaid volunteers receiving no compensation whatsoever.

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