- A better-informed electorate — An issue would be discussed over at least an 18-month period as signatures are being collected over a nine month period followed by the legislative review process, capsule which begins by March 1. As a result, there there will be more public debate on an initiative than on most bills that pass through the General Assembly.
- Higher voter turnout — The New York Public Interest Group did a 20-year study of voter turnout in states with Initiative comparing it with states not having Initiative and found that states with I&R have a considerably higher voter turnout.
- A more accountable and responsive legislature — Initiative has put elected officials on notice that they must be responsive to issues of importance, or the people will take the appropriate action. Many times, laws are passed by the legislature in response to the filing of an initiative.
- A safeguard against the concentration of power – Even under an honest government, political power can fall into the hands of a small group or a single party. With I & R, the people can retain the ultimate authority, thus preventing any monopoly of political power.
- Neutralize the abuse of the General Assembly committee process — We’ve witnessed the committee process and the various means to kill a bill or avoid taking a position on an issue. By allowing the people to take an issue to the voters, this power of the general Assembly is eliminated.
- Secure or expand civil rights — minorities can propose legislation to extend rights that cannot otherwise be attained through the General Assembly.
Last updated May 21, 2012