The Initiative Process: Direct Democracy at its Finest
The process of direct democracy in the United States is not as inclusive as one might tend to believe. Being one of the world’s most democratic nations, it is strange that the U.S. is one of the only nations to have no direct democracy at the federal level. To clarify, direct democracy is the process in which citizens of a given nation or state have the means to self-govern by directly voting on policy issues(Silvia 2). Although at the federal level direct democracy is irrelevant, the same cannot be said at the state level in the U.S. where direct democracy can be found in a variety of ways and has been in use for over a century. Focusing on State level direct democracy, three distinct types of direct democracy exist in the American States: The initiative process, the use of referendums and the availability of the recall. The initiative process will be the focus of this paper due its popularity and two distinct forms. With the objectives of the initiative process being to allow citizens the opportunity to self govern, it is interesting to examine these two types of initiatives and see where they are most prevalent and effective. The initiative process is the most dominate form of direct democracy at the state level with 24 states allowing for it to happen (Initiative, Referendum and Recall ). Two types of initiative process exist: direct initiative and indirect initiative. The direct initiative process can be viewed upon as the citizens taking government into their own hands and proposing new laws or policies to be directly decided on by the citizens, not politicians. Direct, is the primary means of direct democracy across the country due to its complete bypassing of the state legislature, whereas indirect democracy requires no voting on behalf of the citizens, rather just approval by the state legislature. To better understand how the initiative process works, a...
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