|The Lookout Letter to the editor|
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Ask Before You Sign – Or Think Before You Ink
Recently, supporters of a referendum on a development in Santa Monica have hit the streets to gather signatures to get their issue on the ballot.
The League of Women Voters of Santa Monica has no position on this referendum. We are neutral regarding it.
However the League has a long-standing concern about the political process, including the process by which signatures are gathered.
Often supporters will argue that you should sign their petition because you should “let the voters decide” – that in some way it is your duty as a citizen of a democratic society to support putting the measure on the ballot.
This is not true. It is the privilege and right of supporters to gather signatures, and, if they get enough, to put their referendum on the ballot.
But it is no one's duty or responsibility to support putting a measure on the ballot that they don't understand or don't agree with.
Some years ago, the League of Women Voters of California spelled out this argument in detail at http://lwvsantamonica.org/files/ask-before-you-sign.pdf
Remember, we want all registered voters to exercise their franchise. Just be sure you get all the facts before you sign anything.
Ann K. Williams
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