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Carolyn Blackmore: Ballot initative process is government by the people

July 13, 2018 GMT


I disagree with the July 10 opinion piece “Ballot initiatives are an end-run around the legislative process.” Ballot initiatives have been part of the Arizona government process since statehood in 1912. It is part of government “by and for the people.” The opinion piece points out that well-funded special interests can use the initiative process to push an agenda. I suspect that the usual process in place now, i.e., special interests funding politician’s campaigns and writing legislation for them is probably much more effective. Additionally, that criticism discounts the fact that many ballot initiatives are volunteer efforts, not well funded at all, and many never even make it to the ballot.

Ironically, while attacking ballot initiatives, the News-Herald praises the Outlaw Dirty Money initiative which is aimed at banning anonymous political donations and which, if left to the Arizona legislature is an idea that would never see the light of day.

The problem is not special interests funding an agenda or, to quote the News-Herald, that “most voters are vastly unqualified to make these kinds of decisions.”

The problem is that most people are assuming that news sources are providing them with the information they need to make good choices when voting and that our legislators are representing our interests.

Neither is the case. We live in a complex, highly technological and interdependent world.

Making good decisions on issues facing us as citizens and voters requires taking the time to move past the morning paper and evening news and to really do our homework.

The News-Herald would better serve the public by encouraging people to become informed and actively participate in our democracy, as well as by brainstorming ways to facilitate those activities rather than encouraging us to abdicate our personal responsibility and depend on politicians to take care of us and our democracy.

Carolyn Blackmore

Lake Havasu City