The Operation of the Initiative, Referendum and Recall in Oregon

By James D. Barnett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
THE EDUCATION OF THE VOTE

1
The Study of Measures

THE grave responsibility which the people have imposed upon themselves by the adoption of the system of direct legislation is continually emphasized by the press and on the platform. "The people of Oregon are to determine for themselves great problems deeply concerning their welfare. A single mistake will be serious; several mistakes will be unfortunate; a series of mistakes -- and there is opportunity for them -- will be disastrous. It behooves the voter to begin now the most careful and thorough consideration of the initiative and referendum measures, that his action in November may be informed, deliberate, judicious and safe."1 "He must first learn the fact that he is one of a large legislative body empowered to enact laws and amend the constitution, then to be as painstaking and as honest as he expects and demands a member of the state legislature should be."2 But with the steadily increasing burden of the ballot the proper consideration by the great mass of the voters of all the measures submitted, many of them extremely complex, has become an absolute impossibility,3 and thus any serious study of the measures is more or less discouraged. Although probably great numbers of voters give all the consideration to the questions before them which could be reasonably

____________________
1
Oregonian, May 11, 1912, p. 10, col. 1.
2
Woodburn Independent, reprinted in Oregonian, Jan. 25, 1908, p. 8, col. 5.
3
Above, pp. 78-82.

-91-

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