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Democracy: Direct Democracy

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We are going to take an in-depth look at how direct democracy works in Florida, and in particular what it means for initiatives, referendums, and recalls. We will then look at some of the state’s important laws that were enacted through the initiative process as well as some of the problems with the system as it stands today. The state passed a ‘Florida Supermajority Requirement Amendment’ or better known as ‘Amendment 3’ in November of 2006 requiring that all constitutional amendments went from a majority (50% = 1) to a supermajority (60%) vote requirement for passage. Ironically this amendment was approved by a 57.8% vote. The effect that has had and will continue to have on Florida’s politics will be looked at as well, highlighting the good…show more content…
“Although the country was founded on the notion that people are happier when they have a say in government, the founders were not optimistic about the ability of people to govern themselves too directly.” (The Conservation) This Alexander Hamilton quote sums up their feelings on the issue: “That a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure, deformity.” (Gady). “Some confusion stems because the word "democracy" is used to describe both a "type" and a "form" of government. As a "type" of government, it means that generally free elections are held periodically, which America has. But, as a "form" of government, it means rule by the majority, which America does not have; America is a republic.” (Kieffer) Our founding fathers were against direct democracy from the beginning. A rational discussion on a particular issue, with all sides being heard and listened to is something not possible. Today’s society is an example of this with the division and closed mindedness of all those involved in any given problem. The most prominent example of direct democracy in our history is that of ancient Athens. Athenian democratic system required all citizens, with some exceptions…show more content…
It is a fairly easy process to understand, but not as easy to qualify for the ballot. You must register with the state as a political party, and then prove via the number of signatures, 8% of the total number of statewide votes cast in the previous Presidential election, from 13 of the 25 Congressional districts. The Supervisor of Elections has to verify the signatures, and send it to the State Supreme Court for legality issues. If approved, you then have to get more signatures, to qualify for the next general election ballot. (League of Women Voters) The initiative is then put on the next general election ballot for the general public to vote yes or no on it. Sixty percent must approve the initiative to make it through to being an Amendment to the Constitution. The legislature still has the responsibility to implement the new Amendment which can take time, or be held up if the legislators have their own political agenda that might vary from the will of the people. They can delay or ignore an approved initiative for quite some time if they so desire. The problem with this system is that only initiatives that are well funded by special interest groups have any real chance of being put onto the ballot. With the passage of Amendment 3, the supermajority (60%),
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