Initiatives and Referendums

The state governments of the United States have utilized I&R as a supplement to the representative democracy. This is mostly revealed on issues that regard the constitutional and political pressures such as the sex marriage bill, eminent domain, and minimum wage. Many advocates have found that at the state level – which is the frame of reference for the I&R, the system checks on activities of the legislature, making it more responsive. Nevertheless, this system should not be adopted at the national government due to its underlying inherent disadvantages such as poor drafting of laws, increased complexity on voting, effects of tyranny of the majority, and possible abuse of democracy.

The I&R at the national government is at risk of poorly drafted laws. Taking states as a case study, it has been found that some laws are drafted within highly partisan environments (Hicks 744). This creates a situation where the expertise of lawyers involved during the drafting of such laws does is not a priority compared to their partisanship. This is dangerous since the wording of the laws as drafted may end up as the statutes of bills in the constitution, leading to social chaos or additional amendment effort. Some experts at the Electoral Knowledge Network have cited that lack of involvement of experts in the drafting of laws leads to meaningless or infective laws, which weakens the legislature. Therefore, the I&R system may risk poor legislative systems by drafting of ineffective or meaningless laws.


Adopting the I&R will increase the complexity of the voting process countrywide if adopted by the national government. For instance, many constitutional and political issues arise now and then both at the state level and the congress. It would be a challenging moment for citizens should all such issues require initiatives or referendums for the national government. Besides, not all citizens are aware of or are informed about current issues, which complicated the need for voting about them. Unlike voting for leaders, it is seldom for a significant portion of the population to understand all arguments against, and I favor of bills presented to the floor of the house. Besides, few people may be willing to participate. A recent study has shown that Americans are choosing to vote based on the utility of their ballot (Waterfield et al. 505). Thus, if the I&R system is adopted, the national government risks the adoption of misinformed public decisions besides increased complexity for voting.

Lastly, the I&R system presents adverse effects of the tyranny of the majority and possible abuse of democracy. Regarding the tyranny of the majority, it would happen that the majority in the United States restrict the rights of the minority. Note that every time a referendum would occur, the majority would always win. Therefore, the I&R system would be devoid of the legislative moderation, which ensures democracy is respected. That is, all citizens of the United States share equal rights. Therefore, the I&R should not be adopted at the national government, since it would be a loophole to compromise democracy through the tyranny of the majority.

To sum up, the I&R system should not be adopted at the national government as it risks poorly drafted laws, increased complexity on voting, and possible abuse of democracy by the effects of the tyranny of the majority. Drafting laws may be influenced by partisanship rather than expertise, many people are not informed of current constitutional and political issues, and the majority would always win un referendums.

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Works Cited

Hicks, William D. “Partisan Competition And The Efficiency Of Lawmaking In American State Legislatures, 1991-2009”. American Politics Research, vol 43, no. 5, 2015, pp. 743-770. SAGE Publications, doi:10.1177/1532673×14564388. Accessed 10 Sept 2020.

Waterfield, Gina et al. “Willingness To Pay Versus Willingness To Vote: Consumer And Voter Avoidance Of Genetically Modified Foods”. American Journal Of Agricultural Economics, vol 102, no. 2, 2019, pp. 505-524. Wiley, doi:10.1002/ajae.12001. Accessed 10 Sept 2020.