Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Ballot Titles and The Courts

Many of us in Arkansas were amazed that all of the ballot questions were approved. A proposal that most of the Christian Right favored (banning cohabiting individuals from being foster parents) passed. A proposal that most of them disliked (authorization for a lottery) passed. And a couple of proposals that should have been disfavored by folks across the spectrum (allowing idiots and insane people to vote and annual legislative sessions) also passed.

How does one explain such a disparate result? Well, the foster parenting restriction was favored by most of the same crowd that pulled the lever for McCain/Palin, and the word was pretty much out on that one. The thing I want to remind Arkansas voters of was how oddly most of the proposals were worded.

The thing about giving idiots and insane people just as much say as you have in picking who wins elections was not worded so that a voter could understand that this was what the measure would do. It was couched as "expanding the right to vote to all citizens 18 and older". You had to read what was NOT ON THE BALLOT to realize that the measure would do this by striking language from the state constitution that currently bars idiots and insane people from electing our political leaders!

The thing about the annual sessions was worded obliquely as well. It said something about allowing for annual budgets. You had to really know what was going on to realize that the practical effect of the amendment was to have the legislature meet in regular session annually rather than bi-annually. As Mark Twain once said, "No man's life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session".

And do you think there was anything on that water bond issue about giving an unelected group regulatory power over private property?

The ballot questions were consistently worded in a deceptive manner, except for the one on adoption. Who is responsible for this? Secretary of State Charlie Daniels and our judges. It seems like rightest ballot measures must jump through all kinds of hoops lest they be thrown off the ballot for being "deceptively worded", but the measures I mentioned were so worded that if I had not really done my homework I wold have been tempted to vote for some really bad ideas.

The trend is clear: Measures that would grow government are deceptively worded without challenge. Measures that would restrict government are gone over with a fine-toothed comb before we the people are allowed to vote on them.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that ALL the ballot measures passed (including and especially the lottery and the annual legislative sessions) indicates, in my view, that there was some deceptive wordsmithing about. Arkansas voters have defeated similar proposals to the lottery and annual legislative sessions in years past, and really, nothing was any different this year than before, other than maybe a few more younger voters, but still not enough to attribute the margin(s) of victory to that alone. All in all, this was a strange election year, with no incumbent P/VP at the top of the ticket, and only marginal opposition to the Senator's Son, likewise for the other members of our Congressional delegation. A Greenie elected to the State House should make for interesting news copy when the session begins. The unmarried/cohabitating foster parent ban and a lottery passing by similar margins seems contradictory to me. Lite Gov. Halter must think he's invincible now.

8:15 AM, November 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Initiated Act 1,

You will get another chance to vote until the results come out correct.

Funny how there's no legal challenge to the other measures, only to the single conservative issue. The homos are a miserable, malcontented lot.

3:18 PM, November 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE Halter: Whom the gods would destroy, they first make great.

6:39 PM, November 07, 2008  

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