Ballot Initiative System

Decent Essays
The Ballot Initiative System in California was designed to give ordinary citizens the chance to change the laws of our state, as well as introduce new ones. That’s why it’s tragic that the process today is so tilted in favor of the rich and well-connected.

Proof of this can be seen in the high costs of a successful campaign. California gives organizers only six months after filing their proposition to collect 365,880 signatures of registered voters, according to the Secretary of State’s website.

The effect of this, according to Kathay Feng, executive director of Common Cause, is that campaigns must hire signature gathering firms in order to have a shot at getting anything on the ballot. These companies send out hundreds of their agents to canvass communities across the state and get signatures from citizens.
…show more content…
But even after the signature requirement is met, millions more dollars are needed to compete in California’s expensive media market and organize an effective get-out the vote campaign in order for the proposition to pass.

All together, Feng says the entire cost of an effective campaign--from signature gathering to election-day--comes in the ballpark of $10-$15 million dollars. What this does, she says, is make no initative campaign capable of success unless it receives backing from big money.

“Even campaigns strongly supported by the grassroots, like the initiative to improve cages for Farm Animals, still rely on wealthy backing to get over the hump” Feng said.

The spending data supports her argument. Non-profit thinktank California Common Sense analyzed donor patterns from ballot measure fights that took place between 2000 and 2012.

The report found that $1.8 billion dollars were donated during this period to ballot commitees either in support of or in opposition to indiviudal propositions. Approximately 92% of donors during this period gave gifts of $10,000 or

Related Documents

  • Better Essays

    want. However, the use of ballot initiatives are not the best option due to the fact that they will result in a mess in the American political system. Ballot initiatives are not necessary because it results in faulty lawmaking, it entails unfair financial circumstances, and it puts minorities at a disadvantage Sometimes, in our political system, the elected officials make decisions that go against our beliefs as constituents. To fix their faults, using ballot initiatives would only make things messier…

    • 1197 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    polls to cast their vote in the election. While most state ballots simply contained presidential candidates and state representatives, the California ballot was a bit more unique. There were severely options on the ballot that voters could mark either yes or no to certain choices simply called propositions. This begs the question, “What exactly are these California propositions?”. The California propositions are essentially state-wide initiatives that directly voted by the California voters rather than…

    • 1138 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    to the Arizona Constitution like: secret ballots, direct primaries, voter initiatives, referendums, and the recall of judges. In the 1910’s to write these concepts into ones state constitution was quit a vogue proposition. In fact, President Taft rejected the initial Arizona Constitution solely on the provision of recalling judges which he felt could…

    • 456 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays