ACRI’s Ballot Initiative Campaign: Usurpation of the State’s Legislative Authority?

In general, ballot initiatives should be limited to non-controversial items with broad general applicability, for example, approving library bonds, and similar items. Issues that potentially deprive vulnerable citizens of human rights must go to the state legislature.

The American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI) initiative campaign in several states is unfair to people who are not members of the dominant social group (see my related posts here). The actions sought in ACRI’s ballot initiative has a profound negative impact on a vulnerable portion of the total population.

Thus, the ballot initiative is a poor vehicle for consideration of ACRI’s policy proposal. The ACRI ballot initiatives deny non-White residents a voice to oppose social policy that could have detrimental impact on their lives. In each state, only Whites have the voting power to accept or reject the initiative. All of the non-Whites could vote in opposition, but without significant White support, the ACRI ballot initiative would still prevail.

For example, look at the results of Michigan’s vote on Proposition 2 in 2006 (click on the exit poll data, as well). Michigan is 80.2% White (2000 Census), so Proposition 2’s success was highly likely, regardless of the people who opposed Proposition 2.

Social policy proposals, like ACRI’s ballot initiative, rightfully belong in the state legislature. After all, the state legislators are elected as representatives of the state’s voters to determine the laws and policy of the state.

The state legislature has the ability to thoroughly investigate, research, analyze, and discuss this vital issue of social justice in public hearings. In addition, those belonging to non-White groups have an ability to advocate their concerns and offer counter-proposals. This ability is not available with ballot initiatives. The only way to counter a ballot initiative by a determined group, like ACRI, is with millions of dollars. Talking with a legislator or participating in a public hearing does not require such an obscene amount of funding.

Yet another reason for all people of goodwill to consider carefully the impact of ACRI’s ballot initiative.