Dangerous Democracy – Citizens’ Initiated Referenda in California
Public Law Review, Vol. 21, No. 2 pp. 70-76, 2010
9 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2010
Date Written: November 4, 2010
In theory, the use of citizens’ initiated referenda as a means of amending the Constituiton offers the promise of a more representative and participatory democracy, where government works to serve the interests of the people, rather than the interests of government. This article looks at the experience of citizens’ initiated referenda in California, through Australian eyes. It considers the detrimental effects of citizens’ initiated referenda, including the debasement of the status of the Constitution as a fundamental document, the failure to achieve outcomes that are genuinely representative of the will of the people and the undermining of the capacity of governments to govern.
Keywords: direct democracy, citizens’ initiated referendum, constitutional amendment, campaign finance, voting, representative government, reform, California
JEL Classification: K10, K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation