Some states have public referendum laws or such are specified in the state
constitution. There is no federal referendum process. Each state has its own
requirements, requiring typically a couple thousand up to a as much as 5% of the
electorate sometimes to get something on the ballot.
I play around at policy.com and opinion.com, and I email my federal legislators
at least on a monthly basis, usually in opposition to some tyrannical law people
in DC are trying to pass. I think that the way politicians treat polls and
letters from constitutents is sort of an informal referendum process. The fact
that a couple of them still remember when they nominated me to one or another
military academy, and that I'm a voting veteran, helps make sure they pay
I do find that local legislators, oddly enough, seem to fall through the cracks
of public oversight. There are some that try to fly under the radar, so to
speak. Nobody knows who they are or what they look like, they don't make public
announcements or cause controversy, and usually run unopposed, or run opposed by
people even less known than they are.
Some referendum systems only allow the public to vote on whether to submit the
proposed law to the legislature, while others overrule the legislature, and can
only be Vetoed by the Governor.
"Ross A. Finlayson" wrote:
> What is the mechanism so that citizens may introduce legislation into
> the legislature? I am aware there are mechanisms to get public
> referendums on ballots by gathering a certain quantity of validated
> signatures of citizens.
> I guess what I am finding is a flaw in our representative democracy in
> that the representatives aren't representative of the interests of the
> people who elected them, for lack of any better one.
> In this age of modern technology, we should use some of it to enable
> cyber-grassroots mobilization. What has come to mind is a web interface
> to a wwide variety of proposed legislation, a clearinghouse for it, as
> it were. Say that as a U.S. citizen you can write suggested legislation
> on any of a variety of topics that are legislatable. Then, legislation
> is organized so that different topics and causes will have compromises
> hammered, or separate proposals if they are incompatible. Then, as
> legislation is developed in this virtual town hall federally and for
> each region, separately or as one, then as legislation passes through a
> public peer-review process and reaches the point where credible
> volunteers vouch for its Consitutionality and value depending on other
> merits, then the legislation is fast-tracked into the requisite forms
> for each jurisdiction, ie, from electronic community, communication,
> discussion, review, and mobilization, then the real world requirements
> for placement in the processes of legislation are fulfilled, and the
> virtual communities' mobilization is used locally and extra-locally to
> satisfy any requirements, where some of the first legislation might be
> to enable electronic satisfaction of the requirements.
> As electronic signatures are now as valid as written signatures, they
> may be used to denote citzens' affirmation of some proposeed legislation
> to be considered for public referendum, or even to be de facto proposed
> as sponsored by the locale in regular legislature.
> This leads to some other issues, for example, a citizen may choose to
> develop a profile of his/her views that are shared or not,
> incrementally, depending upon his preferences about it.
> This might be seen as being about reforming the government, but moreso
> it is about making the government (here in the U.S.) more as it was
> designed to be more than two hundred years ago, representative of its
> Ross Finlayson
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:12:46 MDT