The Operation of the Initiative, Referendum and Recall in Oregon

By James D. Barnett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXV
THE POPULARITY OF DIRECT LEGISLATION

THE constitutional amendment of 1902 establishing the initiative and referendum was adopted by the overwhelming vote of 62,024 to 5668.1

But there is still opposition 2 to the system. Some of the opposition is doubtless due, partly to objections to direct government upon general principles, and partly to the natural objections of interests whose policies have been thwarted by the system; but probably it is due, at least as much, to the abuses which the system has suffered in practice. However, all the opposition together is probably comparatively insignificant, and the general popularity of the system well established. It is universally admitted that there are faults in the system, but the principle of the system is very generally accepted.

"Withal, it cannot be said that faith in the principle has been shaken among even a reasonable proportion of the voters. Rather the weaknesses of the present laws governing the use of the initiative and referendum are recognized and admitted. Some improvement is needed."3 "The Oregon system is not in the balances. It is here to stay. The people rule...in Oregon through the Oregon system, and they have no wish or desire or purpose to go back to old methods."4 "Dissenters must reconcile themselves the best way they can to living under the new system. Adjustment may come slowly in some instances, but it will come in course of time."5

____________________
1
Seventy-two per cent of those voting at the election voted on the amendment. And see above, pp. 3-5.
2
It is perhaps significant in this connection that the amendment of 1906 extending the initiative and referendum to the localities was adopted by a vote of only 47,678 to 16,735. And see above, pp. 177-9.
3
Oregonian, July 5, 1912, p. 10, col. 1.
4
Ibid., May 8, 1912, p. 10, col. 2.
5
Ibid., Feb. 21, 1912, p. 10, col. 1.

-188-

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