What Does a Healthy Democracy Look Like?



Oregon is have used the initiative more than the citizens of any other state it will always be with us it is essential to Oregonians views of what their government is about their sense of democracy we love the initiative process but yet there are flaws the ballot measures are oftentimes complex confusing hard to understand what the long term impacts are we've seen a number of different initiatives kind of have a back and forth with the legislature too often there have been cases where people after the fact have just been like we didn't know that's what it was or the whole buyer's remorse issue citizens initiative review brings together a cross-section of We the People if you will to work on figuring out what these measures are all about and then helping to inform their fellow voters the final panel is balanced by age party affiliation location of residents gender ethnicity education attainment and then voting history which is how many elections have you voted in the last four I'm guilty of being swayed by ads one way or the other and I know that's wrong now after seeing how skewed the information is from either side they have a chance to hear from advocates for the measure and advocates against the measure a range of background experts I think like many Oregonians when I get that voters pamphlet and start flipping through the measures it just becomes daunting because there's just so much information much of which is just propaganda and it's really hard to figure out who's telling the truth who's not you know who's right and I think this process helped me figure out how to do that twenty-four of us spent five days talking experts reviewing all the materials taking all that information and put it into one source for voters to review and I think it'll help people make a more informed decision I think it really helps that a diverse group of citizens have taken time to go through the information to figure out what's important and stated it in a clear way so that voters can really use that information to form their vote I think it's easy for people to be really despairing about politics because of how divisive things are and I think what's different about the citizens initiative review is it's not like that it really is we the people coming together to work on a common agenda I mean you can see it in the process when after several days people sit up and take notice and even if they have differing views they're able to work together in a way that I don't think you see in other politics today at all they will understand that they can take back the process that the system is not broken be interesting to see the ad campaign after going through this whole process because I'll be sitting there going wait a minute that's not right I really think that if every Oregonian had an opportunity to do this and to took that opportunity that man we'd be like the smartest voting population in the nation and over the longer course of time what we in fact we hope it has on the initiative process itself is that initiative advocates take a closer look at the measures that are qualifying for the ballot and keep this process in mind knowing that there is essentially a public hearing this is a national first nobody's done election reform in this way to date so there are a lot of eyes on where this goes we hope to see people pick up on the work we've done in their home state to reform initiative process in their locations I wish more people could go through this process because I think it would make them appreciate the whole process of voting and it really makes me mad when people say oh my and count you know because it does you

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