Get What You Vote For

I have seen over the past 20 years or so, by actually becoming a candidate and running for important offices (New York Attorney General, NYC Mayor and U.S. President) that candidates say almost anything to get your vote, knowing full well that they would not be able to obtain enactment of any of the legislation they promise to have enacted on the voters' behalf.

Voters Should and Can

Elect Local Laws Directly

Why not have voters enact laws directly, so that voters in fact get what they vote for?

You would think this is impossible, but it is not.

All but 2 States (Indiana and Wyoming) permit voters to enact legislation through what is known as referendums (referenda) or ballot initiatives. The laws are not uniform whatsoever except within a given State (and even there, such as in New York, there is a notable exception).

New York State Permits Voters

In Each of 62 “Cities” to Enact

Local Laws Directly

Registered voters in every so-called "city" in NYS (of which there are 62) have the right to enact laws directly, which cannot be changed by the local legislature unless it too goes to voters and gets their approval using the same procedure. The exception is Suffolk County, which is the only County in NYS that has adopted its own ballot initiative for voters in the county.

When You Vote for a Candidate,

You Seldom Get What Was Promised

Perhaps it’s because of the lack of common procedures for ballot initiatives at the local level of government that has not made them well known. Or, more than likely, they are not well known because they could be used by voters to change the power structure in the town in which a ballot initiative is used by voters, so there is a lack of publicity by the organized news media to publicize this way of obtaining political reform.

Whatever the reason, voters by now know that when they vote for candidates the voters are not going to get what they vote for.

But if they vote for laws directly, as they should, they would actually get what they vote for and need, which could result in greater prosperity for the 99%.

BallotPedia, Leslie Graves and Her

Local Ballot Initiatives, an eBook

Leslie Graves is the founder, Publisher and President of BallotPedia, a non-profit organization that is on top of local ballot initiatives (and many other matters relating to elections, federal, state and local). Also, Ms. Graves is the author of an ebook, Local Ballot Initiatives, published in 2012, and probably being updated to a considerable extent (because it is an ebook). This ebook provides information about each State and the rights of voters to enact their own laws at the local (i.e., town, hamlet, village, city, municipality) level of government. She identifies the two States that have no such laws: Indiana and Wyoming. See eBook Local Ballot Initiatives by Leslie Graves

The first thing I would do when trying to understand the ballot-initiative laws of any State is to refer to Ms. Graves’ ebook, to see what it has to say about that State. You should do the same.

Carl E. Person

Revised 3/24/19 5:27 p.m.