Direct Democracy

The Power of California's Initiative Process
Direct Democracy

One of the most powerful tools provided by the California State Constitution; the Initiative Process. Much, much more on this soon....


Past elections have seen an abundance of initiatives that have been variously received by the voters.

Perhaps the most damaging elements of the California initiative process from a Green perspective are the cost and time constraints involved in ballot qualification. In order to qualify, supporters must gather the signatures of five percent of the registered voters within 150 days. In practice, considerable organizational talent and large sums of money are needed to qualify (at least 50 cents per signature). The professionals who gather such signatures are not interested in educating the voters about the issues. They have found that many Californians, when properly approached, will put an initiative on the ballot without knowing more about it than its title.

Currently, changes in the law are being planned that would make the process even less accessible to voters.

The Green Party advocates reforming the initiative process:

  • Extend the period of time for gathering signatures to 180 days.
  • Require that at least 15% of all signatures be gathered by unpaid volunteers.
  • Require both proponents and opponents of an initiative to inform the voters about the issues, using government-sponsored means.
  • Require that organizational proponents of initiatives be prominently listed at the beginning of every initiative.

~ California Green Party Platform

Corporate Personhood
Nader on Corporate Personhood
Wikipedia: Corporate Personhood Debate
Wikipedia: Natural Persons
Reclaim Democracy: Corporate Personhood
WILPF: Anit-Corporate Personhood Organizing Packet (model) End Corporate Personhood
PBS, Now: Corporate Rights Debate
Tips on Passing a Resolution to Abolish Corporate Personhood
Unequal Protection, Thom Hartmann
Corporate Personhood and Money as Free Speech
Citizen Works:
Contra Costa Registrar of Voters
California Initiative Corporate Personhood
Google: Corporate Personhood
Gangs of America
The Corporation
The Century of the Self
Gangs of America
The Corporation
Personhood is for People
The Century of the Self
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Last changed 05/20/2015 (BH)