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Group Says Connecticut Voters Want A Voice and a Vote

by | Aug 25, 2010 11:39am () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Election 2010, State Capitol

Buoyed by a poll that says 65 percent of Connecticut voters support initiative and referendum a group of advocates and candidates in favor of the concept met at the state Capitol Wednesday to promote the idea.

The poll conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, a company owned by pollster Scott Rasmussen, found only 14 percent of the 500 likely voters opposed the idea of initiative and referendum and 20 percent weren’t sure about allowing citizens to collect signatures to get a specific agenda on the ballot. 

When broken down by political ideology Republican favored it 71 to 11 percent and Democrats favored it 56 to 19 percent. The largest cross tab of voters in support of it was those ages 18 to 29 who favored it 92 to 8 percent.

John Woodcock III, a former Democratic state representative spearheading the call for the legislature to pass a initiative and referendum amendment, said he is disappointed Democratic candidates for office didn’t respond to his queries about their support for initiative and referendum. Several Republican and third party candidates were on hand Wednesday to endorse the concept.

“I’m disappointed they’re so indifferent to the will of the people,” Woodcock said.

However, he said the campaign to get initiative and referendum passed is not ideological and it‘s being done without any sort of agenda in mind.

“It’s purely a concept campaign,” Woodcock said.

In 2008 when Connecticut voters were allowed to decide whether to open up the state constitution, initiative and referendum was one of the concepts talked about being added by the proponents of a constitutional convention. The question was soundly defeated by 847,518 voters, 579,904 voted in favor of the convention.

That was a much broader question than what is being discussed today, Woodcock said. He said two years ago there was little discussion about initiative and referendum.

Paul Jacobs, president of Citizens in Charge Foundation, said it’s rare constitutional convention questions are passed, which is why his group prefers the legislature to pass a single amendment in favor of initiative and referendum.

But getting the legislature to give up some of its power by letting the people have a voice will be difficult.

“It’s a power struggle,” Woodcock admitted. “Does the legislature want to share power with people? The answer is obvious. It’s no.”

But Woodcock said they can’t ignore the results of the poll. He said if he was running for office he would take the poll and run on it.

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(9) Archived Comments

posted by: Polite | August 25, 2010  12:53pm

The majority of states already have this right on state issues and are aware of how it operates and how it can be effective to provide for the opportunity for the people to be heard.  Only 14% of the citizens of CT oppose this, so this year is the year to vote out the career politicians that are running this year that stand in the way of us gaining the right to a direct say in Government.
Go to www.LetOurVoicesBeHeard.org to see the scorecard of candidates in favor of Ballot Initiative

posted by: NeilF | August 25, 2010  1:23pm

The last thing Connecticut needs is an initiative process. I am personally surprised and disappointed that the Green Party believes this process will be helpful to their cause. Should it become effective they will have opened the door to moneyed interests mounting huge media campaigns to pass everything from a ban on abortion to restrictions on gay marriage - and everything in between. One need only look at the California and Washington State experiences. Billions are spent on these initiatives and the winner is always the one who has outspent their rivals. Opening the door to this kind of process will benefit only the media, deep pocket corporations and agents of intolerance and hate. Think twice and reject this concept.

posted by: CT Jim | August 25, 2010  2:00pm

What poll do you have that shows only 14% oppose ballot iniatives???
last poll i saw was when the public rejected referendums 60-40% in 2008
I doubt that has changed much.
But would love to have a referendum to curb gun violence and redstrict guns in general.
I would also like one to raise the taxes on the uber wealthy and another that limits defense spending. As well as one that would put pedophile priests in jail for life.
Let me know when they come up.
But please stop lying about numbers when you know they are untrue.
Also if we do this the proponents of the referendum should pay ALL costs of this process :)

posted by: lothar | August 25, 2010  4:01pm

Dubious poll, at best. The vote in 2008 was decisive and for good reason. Any poll conducted in the last few weeks - when the voting public hasn’t discussed ballot initiative in a few years - is bound to be skewed in favor of adopting the process. It’s a feel-good idea that really only leads to a lot of boondoggle nonsense.

In Calif., they’re wasting all kinds of time and money in an effort to strip gay people of their right to marry, when any honest judge knows it’s discriminatory to do so.

The danger of ballot initiative is in the adoption of “mob rule.” Minorities of every kind tend to lose in popularity contests, and the protection of those folks is the very fabric of our Constitution.

Let’s stick with “no” on ballot initiative. It simply doesn’t work.

posted by: Martha H | August 25, 2010  4:36pm

Martha H

It’s a representative democracy, this United States of America, right? Founding Fathers set it up that way, and all, right? We elect the people we like, they govern, and if we don’t like how they govern, we un-elect them, no?  What part of our democracy does PJ not understand?

posted by: Tim McKee | August 25, 2010  5:32pm

Progressives should know that many issues they want can be used by ballot initivitve. Clean elections were funded FIRST in Arizona and Maine by ballot drives(fair to third parties like the Greens). Decrimalizing drugs, repealing bad laws and RECALL of bad politicins like John Rowland,, ect ect..

“The right to petition the government” is civics 101.

Progressives, not lapdog democrats, you time to get involved is here.  Take it to the streets,not the back rooms of the state house!!

posted by: Roger Sherman | August 25, 2010  8:05pm

Initiative and referenda would be a disaster for CT.  Look at other states that have it, they are whipsawed everty year by well-financed national groups looking to tell us what to do.  representative government is what we have and should keep.

posted by: lothar | August 26, 2010  1:24pm

This video from Fox says everything that needs to be said about what ballot initiative has done to waste time and money in California.

posted by: Martha H | August 26, 2010  3:53pm

Martha H

“The right to petition the government” is civics 101.”

True dat, TM.  So you can lobby your government.  You can sue your government.  Why, you can even sign a petition and send it off to the White House by Priority Overnight Mail, COD.

But BEYOND that?  In your civic dreams, fella. 

After all, we were NOT promised, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Short Cuts.”

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