How Direct Democracy Petitioning Works

Talk about petitions to change law
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How Direct Democracy Petitioning Works

Postby ukdd » Fri Aug 05, 2016 6:35 am

The basic principle of Direct Democracy is that each individual voter gets at least one opportunity to vote on any changes to the laws as they happen.

The basic process is as follows:

1. An individual, informal group, trade union, unaffiliated campaign group, elected body or a corporation identify a change to the law which they believe will be beneficial to all citizens affected by the change. The individual/s creating the petition must be eligible voters.

2. When the wording has been finalised and the entity promoting the petition is happy that the specifics will change the law as required the petition can be created. Signatures must be collected from eligible voters from the area where the petition is initiated and will be effective. A threshold is introduced at this point, a percentage of the local electorate must sign the petition before it is officially created. For a national petition the thresholds would be more difficult to fulfil but this is necessary if the petition is to be voted on at a national level.

3. Once local voters have authorised the petition it can be scheduled for the first vote from all of the local electorate (be that constituency, county or nation). To schedule a petition for a vote an awareness period must take place in order that voters have time to familiarise themselves with the arguments in favour and against voting for your petition. During the awareness period campaigning takes place and the argument in favour of signing the petition (or against signing it if there is opposition) can be set out. This might be through advertising, public meetings, door to door campaigning, any of the usual methods. The awareness period may vary depending on the size of the area being balloted.

4. Voting takes place twice a year and each voter is required to approve, reject or abstain for each petition on the ballot. No mark on the paper for a petition counts as an abstention and will affect the turnout. Turnout below a certain threshold will effect whether or not the remaining approvals or rejections are accepted with a low turnout causing the petition to fail. If the petition is national rather than local an additional intermediary vote should take place with a threshold being met before the petition can go to a national vote.

5. Successful petitions can be implemented provided that the practicalities of implementation can be satisfied. The viability of the petition should be verified during the early part of the process as a petition which cannot change the law would waste campaigning resources and isn't likely to receive support if fundamentally flawed. Successful petitions change the law.

This is an open discussion, please feel free to contribute.

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