GOP war on voting: rejecting your constitutional right to legislate by citizens initiative and referendum


Last week Governor Jan Brewer, and Tea-Publicans in the Arizona legislature on a party-line vote, deprived the citizens of Arizona of their constitutional right to a citizens referendum to refer HB 2305, the GOP Voter Suppression Act, to the voters to decide the issue.

On Wednesday, Tea-Publicans in the Arizona House voted along party lines to refer HCR 2018 (.pdf) to the ballot in November which, if approved by the voters, would add a “sunset” provision to any citizens initiative or referendum which “authorizes or requires the expenditure of state money,” referring the matter back to the voters in another referendum every eight (8) years.

This bill is similar to the Senate version of the bill, SCR 1003 (.pdf), which has been approved by the Senate Elections Committee and Rules committee. The House bill will be substituted for the Senate version and voted upon by the Senate in short order.

I have previously posted about this bill:

Note that this reauthorization is not for all citizens initiative and referendum measures, just the ones the legislature does not like — the ones that require the legislature to spend money on priorities decided by the voters, like heath care and education. This is the teabaggers’ “I hate the Voter Protection Act” (Prop. 105 -1998) measure to undermine Prop. 105.

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The teabaggers want the opportunity to revisit and to reverse the laws that the citizens of Arizona enacted as a super-legislature exercising the powers reserved to the citizens under the Arizona Constitution and exercising their constitutional right to citizen initiative and referendum. This reauthorization provision would give opponents a second bite at the apple after seven (7) eight (8) years. It would invite a perpetual campaign that seeks to undermine the legitimacy of laws enacted by the voters. The teabaggers are demonstrating their utter disdain for your constitutional rights and for democracy. If this should appear on the ballot, just say “NO.”

Of course, this ballot measure will be supported by the billionaire-funded dark money campaign organizations of the “Kochtopus,” and the media arm of the Arizona Republican Party, The Arizona Republic, which has already editorialized in support of the Senate version of the bill. Give voters the ability to correct their mistakes.

But who will speak for the average citizen-legislator of Arizona? The voters don’t have a lobby, or a Super-PAC, or a media conglomerate.

The will of the voters, expressed through their vote in favor of citizens initiatives for spending priorities long ignored by our GOP-controlled legislature, would no longer enjoy the legitimacy and finality of law. The will of the voters will always be subject to delegitimizing attacks from the well-financed opposition to the people’s spending priorities, as we have seen with “ObamaCare,” until these monied interests finally get their way, no matter how many years it takes.

The only way to defeat this chicanery is to reject this ballot measure and just say “NO.”

How the Voted:

Screenshot from 2014-03-06 11:57:11