Friday, December 20, 2013

Joe Mathews supports “participatory, deliberative processes” as a source of worthy ideas for initiatives, regardless of signature method

Declaring that “changing the method of signatures is a distraction,” Connecting California columnist and Zocalo Public Square editor Joe Mathews offered a thoughtful riposte to an inquiry regarding the refusal of the ACLU of California to support the campaign of the Coalition for an E-Initiative ( to win California voters the right to sign official initiative petitions online on the grounds that online signature-gathering “could be used to more easily qualify initiatives that seek to limit fundamental rights.”

Bringing a bit of realism to the discussion, the journalist tells Etopia News:

“I think you and the ACLU are both wrong. There's no real reason to worry that e-signature gathering would make it easier to qualify measures for the ballot, in and of itself. It still will remain very difficult, and costly, to get the hundreds of thousands of signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot. Initiative sponsors will have to spend millions to get the attention of signers and to employ people to approach people to sign on-line (probably on iPads and tablets) that are carried around. Changing the method of signatures is a distraction. We need less costly, alternative paths to the ballot that allow initiatives to qualify because the ideas in the initiatives are found to be worthy after participatory, deliberative processes.”

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