Over the years, I’ve voted against the majority of the State Questions that made it to the ballot; this is the first year in a while where I’ve thumbed down them all. (As of this writing, four of five are going down.) Then again, I’m not the purist Brian J. is:

I can understand the pithy and simple power-to-the-people reasoning behind the ballot initiative principle. You want a way to get around legislators who are in the pocket of Big Business or Big Whackadoodle, so you get a number of people to sign onto your petition, and it gets put on the ballot, and if the majority of Missourians vote for it, it becomes law.

Except that’s not how it really works. Instead, you get a powerful interest group that can’t get their laws passed in the legislature to pay a lot of people to go a lot of places to try to squeeze out enough signatures on a petition after all the fakes are knocked off it to get the petition on the ballot. Then, if you have a friendly Secretary of State, it doesn’t get rewritten and gets put onto a ballot with a low turnout that your passionate partisans will turn out for to ensure it gets passed and then it gets written into the state constitution and is therefore almost untouchable, or you get an unfriendly Secretary of State that obfuscates it and puts it onto a ballot where your partisans will be overwhelmed by the other side.

The point is that the ballot initiative process is as open to as much gimcrackery as the normal legislative process, but it carries with it a fake veneer of democracy, but really it’s more of “One Man, One Vote, Once.”

Thanks, but I’d rather leave it to the actual legislators who can monkey with the laws and then unmonkey with the laws.

Down here in Soonerland, Big Whackadoodle is practically a force of nature.


  1. Brian J. »

    6 November 2018 · 10:19 pm

    They used to say I was so cynical for one so young.

    But now I have more experience.

  2. McGehee »

    6 November 2018 · 10:46 pm

    Better a force of nature than a state-sponsored enterprise.

  3. fillyjonk »

    7 November 2018 · 5:58 am

    It makes me sad to say it, but he’s right. And it doesn’t help that some of the questions are written in language that seems specifically designed to be hard to parse out, so a “yes” vote might actually mean “no” for some measure and vice versa. Both Big Business and Big Whackadoodle have more influence than they should have.

  4. jsallison »

    7 November 2018 · 7:50 pm

    I downchecked all except the Gov/LtGov. Really think the chief exec should have a #2 he can trust. Ya want gridlock, fiddle with the House and Senate.

    And what are the chances of a ballot initiative requiring a replacement of the current Ok ByLaws, err, Constitution?

  5. hollyh »

    4 February 2019 · 2:28 pm

    Maybe a good rule of thumb is, vote against it if it changes the constitution. Period.

  6. CGHill »

    4 February 2019 · 5:59 pm

    Easier said than done:

    With more than 850 amendments governing everything from animal burials to mosquito control, the 1901 Alabama Constitution is clearly a monster. The document stood at 376,006 words on Jan. 1, according to the Council of State Governments, which reports annually on statistics affecting the states.

    That makes the 1901 Constitution by far the longest of the state constitutions. That’s more than four times as long as the next runner-up, Texas, with a constitution that runs to 86,936 words. Oklahoma comes in third with 81,666 words. The shortest state constitution is in Vermont, at 8,565 words.

    And that count was as of late 2012.

    By comparison, the US Constitution runs 8160 words. With amendments.

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