A few days ago, Fox & Hounds Daily published my piece on the underwhelming SB 1253, a bill that offers small changes to the initiative process, and the troubling defense of it by good government groups.
I sent it off to colleagues in our global direct democracy network, and I got back this news from Europe: they’ve developed a signature gathering app.
It turns out that’s not the only thing the Europeans have that we don’t. They also have an office that exists to help citizens with the initiative process. (What a concept—it’s almost like they think they’re a democracy!) And that office developed an app that will allow people to sign European Citizen’s Initiatives – the two-year-old initiative process for EU nations.
In California, SB 1253 promises to give millionaires and billionaires 30 more days to gather signatures, helping make a process only the rich can access a little less expensive for those rich people. In the EU, they’re unhappy that the signature app only works for Android phones. They’re raising money to make an iPhone version.
Yes, Internet and smartphone signature gathering is no panacea – it’s hard to get people’s attention to sign on the phone. But the fact that Europe – for goodness sakes, Europe – is moving so much faster than us, and in a citizen-directed way, would be embarrassing — if Californians were capable of embarrassment in such matters.
We aren’t. And so we’re falling behind.