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Forum Post: Participatory democracy

Posted 2 years ago on April 9, 2012, 1:56 p.m. EST by francismjenkins (3713)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

About a century ago, progressive reformers were able to make significant gains. Granted, they weren't perfect, but they supported labor, women's suffrage, and direct democracy.

Today, only 18 of our states allow for recall elections (and some of those states, only under limited circumstances). They include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Instituting something like this in a state that does not currently allow recall elections is no easy task. In New York for example, we could either convince the legislature and governor to enact something like this, or we could wait until 2017 (according to the NYS constitution, a ballot initiative must be put to a popular vote every 20 years, allowing voters the opportunity to amend the state constitution).

There's also a panoply of political advocacy groups in this country (and we do have a tradition of voluntary association and citizen action in this country), but of course they have to fight an uphill battle against the tidal wave of corporate money influencing our political system (which, as most of us know, has become much worse since Citizens United).

Point is ... there are tangible ways our society can be improved, resetting our country on a trajectory towards participatory democracy, but it won't be easy.

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