Dangerous Democracy – Citizens’ Initiated Referenda in California

Public Law Review, Vol. 21, No. 2 pp. 70-76, 2010

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/116

9 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2010  

Anne Twomey

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: November 4, 2010

Abstract

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

Twomey, Anne, Dangerous Democracy – Citizens’ Initiated Referenda in California (November 4, 2010). Public Law Review, Vol. 21, No. 2 pp. 70-76, 2010; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/116. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1703201

Anne Twomey (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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