2015 Fix California Challenge

Digital Direct Democracy

Article II of the California Constitution gives the people of California the right to pass laws, challenge laws and recall public officials by signing petitions. This is direct democracy. Led by Governor Hiram Johnson and his Progressive Party, Californians adopted direct democracy in 1910 in reaction to widespread corruption and the power of special interests in Sacramento.

Signature requirements for placing an initiative on the ballot have risen dramatically in the past century. In 1911, 30,481 signatures were required to place an initiative statute on the ballot. Today that number is 365,880.

One thing that has not changed in the past 100 years is the method of collecting signatures. Since the 1920s, initiative, referendum and recall signatures have been collected on a fee per signature basis by paid circulators.

Qualification of ballot measures has become the exclusive domain of special interest groups and wealthy individuals. Since 2012 more than 40 million dollars has been spent to circulate initiative, recall and referendum petitions. Few measures are qualified for the ballot by volunteers.

Digital Direct Democracy will allow citizens to circulate and sign initiative petitions online using digital signatures.

It will enable popular laws to be placed on the ballot, unpopular laws to be challenged and corrupt or incompetent elected officials to be recalled at little or no cost.

Digital signatures are allowed in California for voter registration and a wide variety of public and private transactions including filing state income taxes, applying for college admissions, business permit applications, real estate transactions and banking.

There is only one reason digital signatures are not allowed to be used to qualify ballot measures online – politicians and special interests want to keep control of the process.

Digital Direct Democracy uses 21st century technology to return control of our initiative, referendum and recall process to the people.

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18 votes
29 up votes
11 down votes
Idea No. 316