A group in
Colorado wants to qualify a ballot initiative to provide more money for
education, but it doesn’t have institutional support – and money – from labor
or business. What to do?

The group,
Great Education Colorado, has come up with an intriguing answer that
Californians might want to watch closely: use social networking to build one’s
own network of signature gatherers.

Education Colorado is circulating, via the Internet and social networks, a kit
that offers detailed instructions on how to download, distribute, and gather
signatures on petitions. While petitions must be signed on paper in Colorado
(as in California), the network provides a way to reach people.

The Denver
Post’s Tim Hoover, one of the country’s smartest journalists on direct
democracy, has a
well worth reading about how this is working.

It seems unlikely to me that enough signatures could be
collected this way to qualify a measure, at least in California, where an
initiative must produce hundreds of thousands of signatures. (The standard is
lower in Colorado, where only 86,105 signatures are needed). But it could be a
useful supplement to a paid campaign – and thus a way of reducing costs and
increasing access to the process.