In candidate removal and approval, policy changes, and constitutional

In the United States we
have an indirect democracy where we vote for a person we believe will serve in
government and make decisions on our behalf. The other type of democracy is direct
democracy, or pure democracy, which occurs when policy questions go directly to
the citizens for a decision. “Decisions include issues with funding, budgets,
candidate removal and approval, policy changes, and constitutional amendments.
Although not all states allow direct democracy and neither does the United
States government.  The most common form
of direct democracy is the initiative, or a proposition.” (Gray) An initiative
is normally a law or constitutional amendment proposed and passed by the
citizens of a state, this occurs in the United States. Initiatives completely
avoid legislatures by bypassing them but they are subject to review by state
courts if they are inconsistent with the state or national constitution. In my
opinion, this process is not the most efficient process to get things done.
Although if interest groups were unable to participate in this then my opinion
would change to consider that this is great process to pass necessary
legislation.

Interest groups have their
own agendas, while some have good intentions others do not. There is no
definite definition on interest groups. “Some studies of the state define the
term narrowly to include groups required to register under state interest group
regulation laws. There are groups lobbying for their agendas without needing to
register under the stat interest group regulation laws. Interests groups are have
been around for ages but they have changed a great deal. These changes come
with the state being more active in delivering services and administration
programs.” (Gray) Interest groups usually focus on an issue that has on-going
problems such as American Civil Liberties Union, American Association of
Retired People (AARP), or National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People (NAACP).

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The state interest group
system is an array of organizations and lobbyists representing them who work to
affect government decisions within a state. This includes multiple political
actors, for example the lawmakers with whom lobbyists must interact and the
restrictions that the state places on these types on interaction. The
characteristics of interest groups, the size, development, composition, methods
of operating, and etc., affect a state’s political power structure, the public
policies that are pursued, and the nature of representation and democracy.
(Gray) This is why they need some regulation on lobbying lawmakers. Initiatives,
which is an amendment or law proposed and passed by the citizens of the state.
This is a form of pure democracy that is still practiced.

The process to pass an
initiative is not all quick and easy. This process varies from state to state. Most
states require that a petitioner or the coordinators supporting an initiative
file forms with the state that include the proposed detailed text of the
initiative. Allowing the state or local office to determine whether the
initiative is legal. Approval of the initiative may come at the beginning of
the process or after organizers have collected signatures. (Gray) Interest
groups have the ability to gather enough signatures at the state level and have
laws or amendments passed that serves their interest. The issue with that is it
may not serve everyone’s interest. While it can be repealed if the courts find
it not in concurrence with state and national constitution it can be repealed.

Direct democracy allows the
citizens in a state to write laws, amendments, to remove politicians from office,
and approve decisions government. Initiatives are legislation or policy on the
ballot that citizens can direct vote in. Ballots ask voters to approve a
decision by the government. This process requires the collection of many signatures
from voters, approval by state government, and an open ballot election. Direct
democracy does give citizens a direct say in the policies and laws of their
state. On the other hand businesses, the wealthy, and interest groups to pass
policy goals can also use it. Initiatives can also lead to bad policy if
citizens are not educated on the matter they are voting on, misinformed, or
misunderstand it.

Initiatives are,
admittedly, a form of direct democracy. Although they are not efficient way of
getting things done in the state when interest groups are allowed to
participate in them. Without interest groups being allowed to do such things as
being able to pass laws and amendments without being closely monitored, they
have the ability to send their agendas into law. The state-level initiative
process has been critiqued for not living up to the liberal ideals of a
citizen-driven endeavor. Established interest groups frequently use these measures
to accomplish their goals, some not all that popular. Initiative ballots act as
almost a short cut for interest groups on accomplishing their main goal of
influencing government policy in their favor. While it is pure democracy and a
great for citizens to introduce real laws and amendments that can do a lot of
good, there are going to be groups out there that are just for their agenda.

 

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