We’ll have some substantive posts up on the ballot questions shortly, but first I want to offer a quick thought on process.
Some folks take the view that ballot questions are generally a bad idea, and automatically either vote “no” or leave the question blank because they believe that government-by-ballot-initiative undermines our representative democracy. That’s a valid position and leads to an interesting debate.
However, I’d suggest that there are certain issues as to which that position doesn’t work, and an issue like question 2 (fusion voting/cross-endorsement) is one of them. Other examples that quickly come to mind are clean elections or other campaign finance reforms, and term limits.
I’m talking about issues that bear specifically on the process by which incumbents retain their seats. Unlike some ballot initiatives — like questions 1 and 3, both of which are policy matters that the legislature is competent to handle in its usual way (though some may disagree with the outcome on those matters) — question 2 directly affects elections. That means it relates directly to every legislator’s ability to stay in office. And that means that question 2, like other campaign-related issues, bears too directly on every legislator’s self-interest to be reliably left to the legislature.
Question 2, in other words, is the kind of issue that should be decided by ballot question, regardless of what one thinks about resolving matters like questions 1 and 3 through the initiative process. So vote “yes” or “no” on the merits, but don’t blank it, and don’t vote “no” just because you think resolving legislative matters through ballot initiatives is generally a bad idea. In this case, it’s not.