What if there are too many initiatives?

Bob (probably Robert Stern)
I’m a big supporter of the initiative process, but if you tell me that I’m going to be receiving five booklets of 50 pages a week, every week, and I have to go through those booklets and take a look and see how I’m going to—because I am very conscientious voter—I’m going to feel overwhelmed.
Senator Mike Gravel
You may.
And, and, this, I don’t think you—in terms of your strategy—that you want to say that they’ll be five initiatives a week that you have to consider because people will say, "Whoa! That’s way, way too many." So I think you need to think about whether you want to have that many. I think you don’t. I think you want to have a limited number of initiatives.
Senator Mike Gravel
The minute you, here Bob, let’s get right down to the principle. The minute you say that we’re going to have a limited number, the first question I ask, "Who is going to set the limit?" Remember? There’s no external authority. We settled that on the first session. There’s no external authority. Whenever you think that, that your idea is smarter than what would happen then you got to ask, "Well who’s going to do this?" Now I know, if you made me king, I know exactly how to do it. But I like Fossedal’s approach. The more I look at what’s going on in the body politic, the more I realize that I wish I didn’t have the authority to do it all the time. I would rather gamble on the collective will to make these decisions.
Unidentified Male
I just wanted to say on ballot fatigue, I think you’ve probably seen it in California and I saw it when I lived there and in Switzerland that this ballot fatigue is a real issue, but to an extent it’s a self correcting problem because the minute people start to get flooded with too many things to vote on they turn out, historically they tune out the information, vote "no" on everything, and it becomes very difficult for anybody to get anything going for a cycle or two.

Also see:


Comparison with State Initiative Law

Waters (2003, p. 20) provided data on state initiative law:

Six states place restrictions on the number and frequency of ballot measures. In Nebraska, an initiative petition may not be filed that is substantially the same as one that failed on the ballot within the preceding three years. Wyoming has a similar provision, except the time period is five years. Massachusetts’s law states that "substantially the same petition cannot have appeared on the abllot at either of the two immediately preceding biennial state elections." Mississippi limits the number of initiative proposals to five: the first five measures meeting the submission requirements will be placed on the ballot. Initiatives rejected by the voters cannot be placed on the ballot for two years after the election.

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