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Proposition 8 (California, 2010)
Merits of ballot initiatives best left in hands of voters
Merits of ballot initiatives best left in hands of voters

The wonderful thing about California's direct democracy process is that any citizen with an idea and $200 can propose a new law for the statewide ballot. Of course, sometimes that's not so wonderful. Some proposals are not just bad, but awful, and the low barrier to entry means they occasionally get on the ballot. Witness Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage, and Proposition 187, which denied public services to illegal immigrants. Both became law but later were ruled unconstitutional. Most of the time, however, that doesn't happen. The initiative process has built-in checks and balances that usually stand in the way of silly, crazy, abusive or unconstitutional...

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