A Direct Democracy is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly, as opposed to a representative democracy in which people vote for representatives who then vote on policy initiatives. In this form of government the citizens have the power to move officials from office and to make repeal laws. The whole idea of Direct Democracy started in the early 1900’s where citizens would fight against political machines as a way of making sure their voice was herd. Soon formed a group called the PUC (public utilities commission) whose goal was to weaken political parties in hopes that voters would eventually be able to select their party’s nominees instead of the leaders in the given party. This was the stepping-stone for the current direct democracy in California. However with this new idea of direct democracy came several different forms and ways it can be applied and used.
One form of direct democracy is referendum. A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This for enables the electors to nullify acts of legislature. The people pushing for this must collect 5 percent of voter’s signatures from the previous election, and have 90 days to do so. This form is relatively uncommon, however in 2004 business groups used a referendum of a health care legislation on Governor Davis’s last days in office. The eventually rejected the health care legislation even though 20 percent of the population still lacked health care. Another form of direct democracy is a recall election. A recall election is a procedure by which voters can remove an elected official from office through a direct vote before his or her term has ended. Basically if someone wants an official removed, they get a petition and depending on the level of the official will determine what percentage of signatures is required from those who voted. If they want to remove a state executive they need about 12 percent, a judge requires 20 percent, and at the local level they need 10-30 percent. All of these require the signatures to be collected in 160 days. If all the signatures are collected in time, an election is held simply saying if the person should stay in office or not. It is much easier to recall in California compared to other states. In 2003 Governor Davis was recalled by his opponents. He was eventually reelected, however 1.3 million signatures were collected and the 75-day campaign took place where Arnold Schwarzenegger eventually took office. In this case recall played a big role in state office.
The last form of direct democracy is the initiative. An initiative is a means by which a petition signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters can force a public vote. This form is different than referendum and recall because those forms were implemented based off something an elected official would do, where initiative allows the citizens to make a new law or policy. How initiative is similar to the other two forms is that it still starts with a petition where they need 5 percent of the voter’s signatures from the previous election. If they wish to change a constitutional amendment they need 8 percent to get it on the ballot. This whole process takes 150 days, then the time in between the next election. In 2008 there were multiple cases of this happening with subject matters such as same sex marriage, criminal sentencing and abortion.
Hello Ms. Hilton, My name is Freddy Metoyer and I will be your campaign manager for this 2016 election. I am here to assist you on your way to presidency. The people of the United States are counting on you to lead this country and point them in the right direction. Now to be president, you must have a good understanding of how the government works...
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