- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 7, 2009


Your editorial pointing out the difficulty of a grass-roots effort to qualify a referendum for the ballot was right on target with the Maryland and Virginia referendum processes (“Undemocratic traffic cameras,” Friday). When fighting Virginia’s infamous abusive-driver legislation, I found out the hard way that the commonwealth has no citizen-initiative process available to overturn such ill-conceived pieces of legislation.

It is worth pointing out that the District does have a formal referendum process. It requires 21,000 signatures out of a pool of about 415,000 registered voters - far more than Maryland’s requirement as a percentage (5 percent vs. 3 percent). To complicate matters further, those signatures must be spread evenly through at least five of the city’s eight wards and collected within 180 days.

The editorial is correct in noting the difficulty citizens have in trying to affect the so-called “democratic” process. There is little practical difference between not having a citizen-initiative process and having one with such requirements. Motorists in Virginia, the District and Maryland deserve a chance to vote on whether red-light cameras and speed cameras should stay.



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