Initiative and Referendum

The League of Women Voters of Connecticut supports the current method of amending the State Constitution, with amendments proposed by the General Assembly and ratified by referendum and then the General Assembly.
Position History: 

Adopted in 1984; affirmed in 2003, 2013 retained.

Background

The League of Women Voters of Connecticut supports the current method of amending the State Constitution, with amendments proposed by the General Assembly and ratified by referendum and then the General Assembly. The League of Women Voters of Connecticut opposes the adoption of the initiative device to propose Constitutional amendments, direct initiative to propose laws, and the initiative and referendum device as a non-binding expression of public opinion.

The League of Women Voters of Connecticut believes that the incorporation of the following controls into any initiative and referendum plan is essential:

  • A provision for legal review of the initiative proposal;
  • A time limit for the collection of signatures and a ban on payment for solicitation of signatures;
  • Definitions of the qualifications of sponsors, circulators, and signers of petitions and a determination of a method for legal verification of signatures.
  • Geographical distribution of signatures and a signature requirement high enough to discourage frivolous use.
  • Full disclosure of contributions to initiative campaigns and limits on contributions if constitutional means can be found.
  • Provision for statewide dissemination of printed material on ballot questions, including full text, explanatory information, pros and cons, and an estimate of the cost of the proposed change.
  • Specification of the size of the vote necessary for passage. The League feels strongly that these requirements should be addressed through the statutes, while the constitutional amendment itself should contain only the broad outlines of an initiative and referendum proposal.
  • The League of Women Voters of Connecticut believes that a measure proposed by initiative and adopted by referendum should not be subject to gubernatorial veto, and that the voters should have the power, through a subsequent referendum, to amend or repeal such measures. We believe that ballot questions should be placed before the voters only at general elections, not at special elections. We feel strongly that improvements need to be made in the content and dissemination of information on ballot questions, and that the cost of printing and distributing such information be borne by the government.
Issues: 
League to which this content belongs: 
- Private group -