California’s Initiative Process Hurts Voter Enthusiasm

We political consultants complain about voter turnout as if it worsens by magic.

It’s not magic – it’s the process we enable.

And one of the single, biggest contributors to hurting voter enthusiasm in California – the initiative process.

I discussed the drama playing out over the City of San Diego’s pension reform measure, Proposition B, in yesterday’s FlashReport post, “Pension Reform Initiative | Publicly Popular, Judicially Jacked.”

With just a couple months until the election, there’s already been heaps of interference via labor special interests to block the public from even voting on the initiative, which received petition signatures from a healthy 115,000 voters to qualify.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith hit the nail on the head – the public has the right to vote on the measure or any that qualifies for the ballot.

Whether the concept of ballot measures merits support isn’t the issue. It’s the devolvement of the political process that causes great harm.

Lazy lawmakers seem increasingly comfortable shirking responsibilities from a job we hire them to do, and pass off the responsibility to voters to decide by initiative.

Invariably, the losing side blows its top at the “will of the people,” finds a legal leg to stand on, drums the issue into court and today’s pseudo-lawmaker decides, also known as a judge.

Years later, the loser of that outcome resurfaces to settle the matter once and for all, brings it back to the ballot and the costly process starts all over.

Sometimes the initiative becomes law, sometimes not regardless of the “will of the people.”

So who loses? The voting public. It’s vote and voice is increasingly devalued while special interests play tug-o-war with their tax dollars for sport.

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