On the top of a legislative effort by Democrats in the legislature to undermine the people’s referendum power, which I wrote about Friday, more skullduggery is rumored that could alter the outcome of specific initiative and referendum proposals by changing the ballot on which the measures would appear before voters.

Given the recent effort to pass a new tax bill on Internet retailers so as to thwart a referendum on a similar tax measure, it is not hard to believe the story circulating in Sacramento that altering election laws could force two measures to a different ballot for political gain. Besides the Internet tax referendum (if the first scheme to undermine it doesn’t get the necessary two-thirds vote to pass a new urgent Internet tax measure), an initiative to limit public employee union and corporation political donations could be pushed to the November 2012 general election ballot instead of the June primary ballot.

The latter measure would require that union committees and other employers obtain authorization in writing from employees who wish to contribute to the organization’s political campaign spending. It also bans unions and corporations from giving to candidates and candidate-controlled committees.

The reason behind the move? November should produce a higher turnout of voters during the presidential contest and a larger portion of registered Democrats are expected to come to the polls. Estimates are that there could be a ten-percent shift in votes on ballot measures from June to November.

Public employee union leaders oppose the measure asking members for permission to deduct political dues instead of taking them automatically from the workers’ checks. There is pressure from the unions on their legislative allies to play with election laws so that the initiative would appear on the November ballot along with the Internet tax referendum and other measures that have qualified for the ballot.

It would not be surprising to see such an effort take shape given the offensive mounted against the initiative and referendum process by legislative Democrats.

Under the headline: Democrats Propose Measures to Rein in California Initiative Process, Michael J. Mishak, in a weekend Los Angeles Times article, lists a number of bills to curb initiative power and make it more difficult for the voters to use the process.

While the article says the Democrats claim the bills have nothing to do with politics, of course, the efforts to subvert the initiative process has everything to do with politics. Democrats in the legislature and unions feel the initiative and referendum interferes with their power and control.

The proof is the action on the Amazon tax to undercut the referendum and the many bills introduced to make use of the initiative more difficult. The situation is compounded if Friday’s rumor is true that the Democrats will try to change the rules in mid-stream and move measures to an election in which they think their side can prevail.

Meanwhile, the initiative, which the California Supreme Court called "one of the most precious rights of our democratic process," is put in jeopardy.