NOTE: Buckley v. American Constitutional Law Foundation, Inc.: Emblem of the Struggle Between Citizens' First Amendment Rights and States' Regulatory Interests in Election Issues Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2000 North Carolina Law Review
North Carolina Law Review

NOTE: Buckley v. American Constitutional Law Foundation, Inc.: Emblem of the Struggle Between Citizens' First Amendment Rights and States' Regulatory Interests in Election Issues

January, 2000

78 N.C.L. Rev. 477

Author

Michael Carlin

Excerpt

Populist and Progressive Era distrust of corporate interests and political parties stimulated enthusiasm for direct legislation -- the citizen-initiated political tools of initiative, referendum, and recall. 1 Political reformers in the early twentieth century, acting on idealistic notions of pure participatory democracy symbolized in eighteenth-century New England town meetings, brought direct legislation to more than one-third of the nation's jurisdictions by 1918. 2 After a period of relative dormancy in the mid-twentieth century, direct legislation has become increasingly popular in the century's final three decades, as voters often have expressed dissatisfaction with the governance of elected leaders. 3 The initiative process, however, has not lived up to idealists' expectations. 4 Commentators have criticized the process on a number of grounds: the complex initiative voting process is biased against the poorly educated, 5 a significant number of initiatives have attempted to target minority groups, 6 and many initiative supporters today are white, affluent, and highly educated 7 members of political action groups backed by large-moneyed interests that capitalize on the burgeoning "initiative industry." 8

In an attempt to rein in the excesses of direct legislation, states use statutory or constitutional provisions to regulate the ballot-petitioning process, through which supporters of proposed initiatives and referendums attempt to attain the requisite number of voter signatures to earn the measures a place on the election ballots for voter consideration. 9 Initiative petitioners, however, have a constitutionally protected right to engage in political speech. 10 State regulations reflect an attempt to ...
 
 
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