California Initiatives, Referendums, and Recalls How does CA government break from the tradition of a republic? Who’s interests are served by the use of initiatives, referendums, and recalls? Are initiatives, referendums, and recalls democratic?
Origin of Initiatives, Referendums, and Recalls
Due to the corruption that pervaded all levels of government at turn of the century and early 20 th century, citizens sought clean up politics and government by gaining direct control over it.
On October 10, 1911, by way of a special election called by Governor Hiram Johnson, the initiative process was established in California .
Allows voters to remove and replace a state or municipal official. This must be an elected official.
A recall requires a “notice of formal intent” to be filed
Then a specified amount of time valid voter signatures must be collected (5% of last gubernatorial voters)
Voters then go to the polls and decide on two issues. One, should the official be removed from office by simple majority . If the recall passes, then who should take his/her place is decided by simple plurality .
Make official more accountable.
Prevents corruption and other malfeasance by officials.
Average citizens are not well informed enough to make such complex decisions on policies and law. Moreover, people are emotive and passionate. They can only see the immediate rather than the long term ramifications.