Welcome! My name is Timothy Vande Krol. Here, I outline two proposals to increase political parties’ involvement in direct democracy. First, I recommend that states include parties’ initiative endorsements on the ballot. This simple change would help voters make informed decisions, while narrowing the policy gap between representative and direct democracy. Second, I propose incorporating the principle of proportional representation into the initiative process. I recommend a two-track system of ballot qualification: maintaining signature-gathering requirements for nonparty initiative sponsors, while providing an alternative path for parties. Rather than collecting signatures, each party would receive ballot access for a number of statutory initiatives proportional to its support among voters. Although this would increase the number of initiatives on the ballot, voters could rely on partisan cues to make competent decisions. Such a system would provide many benefits of multiparty democracy, and reform the initiative process, without obstructing state legislatures. Either proposal could be adopted independent of the other.
About the author: I am a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona, where I currently work as a research assistant. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me.
Acknowledgments: These proposals were presented at the 34th Annual CSU, SSRIC Student Research Conference and the symposium on California Direct Democracy: The Next 100 Years. I am very grateful to Joe Mathews for inviting me to participate in the symposium and to Sara Reinosa for designing this website.