We, the people of Missouri, have had to use the initiative to pass legislation the General Assembly refused to pass (an increase in the minimum wage, Medicaid expansion, the “Clean Missouri” ethics reform). We had to use the “veto referendum” to repeal an anti-worker, anti-union, so-called “right-to-work” bill passed by the General Assembly.
The Missouri Constitution gives the people of Missouri the power to “propose and enact or reject laws and amendments to the constitution by the initiative, independent of the General Assembly” and to “approve or reject by referendum any act of the General Assembly” [Article III, Section 49].
Referendums and the initiative are powerful forms of direct democracy. And there is a good reason why direct democracy is sometimes referred to as “pure democracy”. A referendum vests all political power in the people. Every citizen has as equal vote and a simple majority of the votes determines whether a proposed law is approved or rejected. The initiative allows the people to originate legislation.
Missouri is one of only fifteen states that have both referendums and the initiative for both laws and constitutional amendments but getting proposals on the ballot through the initiative and calling referendums to block legislation is much more difficult and expensive than it should be.
Some of the politicians in the General Assembly have introduced legislation that would make it even more difficult and more expensive for citizens to get proposals on the ballot and require antidemocratic supermajorities to approve proposals put on the ballot by the people. Since they are amendments to the Missouri Constitution, these proposals would have to be approved by voters in order to take effect. They are likely to be on the ballot in Missouri in 2024. If these antidemocratic amendments were to be enacted, it would be a significant setback for democracy in Missouri.
When it comes to defending democracy, an adage commonly associated with sports and warfare applies – the best defense is a good offense. We need to do more than defend democracy. We need to proactively promote democracy.
Petitions for two elegantly simple, yet incredibly powerful, pro-democracy amendments to the Missouri Constitution have been filed with the Secretary of State: The Pure Democracy Amendment and Proxies for Citizens.
Direct democracy is sometimes referred to as “pure democracy”. The Pure Democracy Amendment willl:
The Pure Democracy Amendment will make it easier for the people of Missouri to “originate” legislation founded upon the will of the people, making the form of our government in Missouri a perfect democracy.
A “proxy” is a written statement authorizing someone else to vote on your behalf. The system of Proxies for Citizens being proposed in Missouri will allow every citizen who is eligible to vote to assign proxies to any one member of the Missouri Senate and any one member of the Missouri House authorizing them to vote on their behalf and then give every member of the General Assembly a number of votes equal to the number of proxies they have been assigned, plus one for themselves, on every matter voted on in the General Assembly.
Proxies for Citizens will:
Proxies for Citizens will instantly transform our antidemocratic state legislature into a truly democratic institution.
Being politically active should be as simple and easy as possible. Any practices or measures that make it unnecessarily difficult for citizens to be politically actively make our government less democratic. By making the General Assembly a more accurate reflection of the will of the people, Proxies for Citizens will significantly reduce the need for the people of Missouri to use the initiative to put proposed legislation on the ballot or call for referendums. The Pure Democracy Amendment will make it easier for the people of Missouri to call referendums or use the initiative, if and when it remains necessary to do so.
We have grown accustomed to thinking of politics and political issues in terms of “Democrats versus Republicans”. But democracy is not a partisan issue. There are some Republicans who believe in and support democracy and some who don’t. There are some Democrats who believe in and support democracy and some who don’t. There are some citizens who do not support either of the two major parties. Some of them believe in and support democracy. Some of them don’t.
The campaign to get Proxies for Citizens and The Perfect Democracy Amendment on the ballot and ratified by voters in Missouri will not be a partisan campaign – with Republicans on one side and Democrats on the other. It will be led by Champions of Democracy and opposed by the false friends and true enemies of democracy.
The vast majority of the people of Missouri believe that “all political power” should be “vested in and derived from the people.” We believe that “all government of right originates from the people, is founded upon their will only, and instituted for the good of the whole.” We believe in democracy.
The Pure Democracy Amendment and Proxies for Citizens will make those ideals a reality in Missouri. They will -
Initiative petitions are considerably more powerful than other petitions. They do not “petition” corrupted politicians, futilely encouraging them to bite the hands that write the big checks that get them elected and keep them in office. Initiative petitions give the citizens of a state or nation the power to propose and enact legislation without the involvement or approval of the legislature or governor.
If the required number of people sign the petitions for Proxies for Citizens and The Perfect Democracy Amendment by May 5, 2024, those proposals will be on the ballot in Missouri on November 5, 2024. If they are approved by voters at that election, these amendments to the Missouri Constitution will take effect 30 days later.
If enough of us who believe in democracy unite in support of these reforms, we will succeed. And when we get these incredibly powerful reforms enacted, all political power in Missouri will be vested in the people of Missouri; when we put a government in place that is founded upon the will of the people of Missouri and that benefits all of the people of Missouri; we will not only make Missouri a more perfect democracy. We will make history.
Say “YES” to Democracy is a non-partisan political action committee organized to support reforms that will make Missouri a perfect democracy. Say “YES” to Democracy has endorsed the petitions for The Pure Democracy Amendment. We are helping to actively recruit Champions of Democracy to be a part of that campaign.
If you would like to help gather signature on petitions , simply provide us with your email address. A volunteer coordinator will contact you.
If you would like to support our campaign,
use this link to contribute securely online
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