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Columbia Missourian

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Beware of money behind Your Vote Counts campaign

By Mindy Patterson
February 28, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CST

Be careful what you wish for. That's my warning to the proponents of the Your Vote Counts ballot initiative currently gathering signatures for Missouri's November 2012 ballot.

It might seem like a great idea on the surface, but if the Your Vote Counts measure passes, it will amend our Missouri Constitution and require a three-fourths vote from both the House and Senate in our Missouri legislature to make changes or repeal ANY ballot initiative. A task that is virtually impossible. So what does that mean, you ask? It means that ANY ballot initiative that is passed by the voters becomes LAW. There's a name for that, and it's called direct democracy.

Direct democracy is a failed model of government. Our Founding Fathers understood why direct democracy, or majority rule, results in anarchy, which is the reason they created America's representative republic form of government ruled by law (the Constitution), which protects the rights of the individual against the actions of the majority. Direct democracy is a tyranny of the elite. Thomas Jefferson described it best when he said: "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51 percent of the people may take away the rights of the other 49 percent."

The state of California now has direct democracy. And it's no secret in California that the ballot initiative process has become a tool for the wealthy special interests. Voters are passing ballot initiatives that are unfunded mandates on the state, which have contributed greatly toward bankrupting the once-great Golden State. In California, ANY ballot initiative that is passed by voters becomes law, bypassing the legislature and forfeiting the checks and balances of floor debate, committee hearings and deliberation by legislators who take an oath to uphold both the U.S. and state constitutions.  

I dread to think what might happen to Missouri if Your Vote Counts were to pass. Ballot initiatives that could force such issues into law concerning right to life, taxes, health care, utilities, environmental issues, private property, agriculture, food sources, gun rights, gun bans — just to name a few. All it takes is for a ballot initiative to obtain financial backing of wealthy special interests who are able to control the media message and influence the voters to get their measure passed by a vote of the unknowing, media-influenced voter into law. Direct democracy in action.

Your Vote Counts is largely funded by the wealthy animal rights group, the Humane Society of the United States. Here in Missouri and in 17 other states, the group has exploited the ballot initiative process with their big money, allowing them to saturate the voters with commercials and dominate the airwaves with their emotional message and propaganda to essentially buy their vote.

To date, the Your Vote Counts campaign has raised $345,644, of which only 1.5 percent has come from Missouri residents. We must not allow out-of-state big money and special interests to hijack Missouri’s form of government and buy our laws.

Our state sovereignty is not for sale. Missouri, wake up and smell the money.

Mindy Patterson is the campaign manager for The Alliance For Truth, a campaign working to defeat Your Vote Counts.