Before last week’s California Supreme Court decision permitting an advisory measure on campaign finance to be put on the ballot, this state had a serious problem with voter turnout. Serious people said they were desperate to do what was necessary to inspire voters to participate and get to the polls.

After that California Supreme Court decision, the turnout problem was no longer that serious.

Serious people lamented that the court was permitting the legislature to put measures on the ballot to – gasp – boost turnout. To get more people to the polls. Outrage!

Writing on this wonderful site, Joel Fox even identified a new and terrible problem – ballot manipulation!

You see, before this gamechanging court decision, each ballot’s slate of measure was formed in a pure, politically uncorrupted process, in which only the best among us – rich people, rich interests, and the occasional politician trying to seize an issue to assist his or her career – decided which measures made the ballot. Now the court is permitting the legislature to put its grubby hands on this pure process.

Before the California Supreme Court decision, some of us used to see ballot measure campaigns as a form of participation. How naïve we were.

OK, enough fun. If you want people to vote, you have to put things on the ballot that will get them to vote. There’s nothing untoward about it.

Also: asking voters for their opinion, particularly on a potential federal constitutional amendment on the funding of campaigns, is not such an offense against democracy. Yes, there are opinion polls, but I have heard – albeit before the political earthquake of this California Supreme Court decision turned our opinions about turnout on their head – that the only poll that counts is the one on Election Day.

California does have a problem with measures on the ballot – there are too many at the same time. That’s a result of a foolish law that moved all ballot initiatives to our state’s November runoff elections, keeping them away from our June general elections.

We’d be better off with ballot measure-only, all-mail elections every few months, when we would consider no more than three ballot measures at a time. Ballot measures need time for consideration and voter education – because voters are acting as legislators.

And to that end, ballot measures should be on a different schedule than candidate elections. And guess what? Such a change would also be a blow against this new scourge of ballot manipulation.