Prop Zero
The Starting Point for Commentary and Coverage of California Politics

California's Initiative Overload

Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation more than 24 percent of Californians are considered obese.

    We already overdose on food in November, with Thanksgiving and all the fixings.

    Now it looks like Californians might overdose on initiatives in November.

    The big news in California political skulduggery this week is the bid by Democrats and labor unions to change the law to push all initiatives -- including several they don't like -- from next June's primary ballot to the November ballot.

    Lost in the discussion of the political power play here is this simple fact: such a move is bad for voters.

    The more crowded the ballot gets, the harder it is for each individual measure to get attention, and for votes to understand what they're voting upon. And this Democratic plan will add to that confusion -- and to a ballot that's already too long.

    There's a legitimate question about whether a primary election -- which is dominated by partisans of the two major parties -- is the best place to vote on initiatives. Some states limit initiative and referendum votes to general elections.

    But the real problem here is that ballots are already too long, with ballot measures appearing at the end of already long ballots full of federal, state and local races.

    California should think about separating its initiative and refernedum votes from its candidate elections.

    Selecting someone to represent you is a very different act than legislating yourself, which is what ballot measurse do.

    In a system that gave voters a chance to cast ballots -- perhaps by mail, to reduce costs -- multiple times a year on just ballot measures, each initiative, referendum or other measure would get more time and attention for voter and media scrutiny.

    Instead, the Democrats are pushing a change that's really a turkey.

    Let us know what you think. Comment below, send us your thoughts via Twitter @PropZero or add your comment to our Facebook page.