Paul Jacob

September 9, 2012

It’s the silly season in politics, that special time when politicians pretend they like us better than the special interests that fund their campaigns. They bombard us with bold and expansive promises of their incredible abilities; they pledge their future fidelity to principle. From bitter experience, oft repeated, we know those promises tend to evaporate faster than warm spit on an August sidewalk.

Regardless of what happens in the presidential race or in the pitched battle for control of the U.S. Senate (and possibly even the U.S. House of Representatives), voters will also be deciding 157 ballot issues in 34 states this November. As Grover G. Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, once quipped, “One big difference between initiatives and elected representatives is that initiatives do not change their minds once you vote them in.”

Here are this year’s top ten ballot measures most critical to conservatives and libertarians:

10. Voter ID. In Minnesota, after statutes passed by the Republican legislature requiring voters to show identification at the polls were vetoed by the Democratic governor, the legislature placed a constitutional amendment on the ballot for voters to enact or reject. If a voter ID law is endorsed by voters in a traditionally deep blue state such as Minnesota, it could provide momentum for efforts in other states.

9. Don’t Steal My Home. Virginia’s Question 1 is a constitutional amendment reforming eminent domain, the taking of property (with supposedly “just” compensation) for public use, which has degenerated into stealing people’s homes and businesses for whatever scheme politicians and developers can dream up. The amendment would specifically prohibit eminent domain use for job creation, tax revenue generation or so-called “economic development.”

My support for Question 1 is further bolstered by the opposition of two prominent slush-funds for big-government politics: the Virginia Association of Counties and the Virginia Municipal League. The municipal league argues that the measure “will harm Virginia’s citizens by severely limiting the ability of local governments and the state to carry out projects that help improve life for the commonwealth’s population . . .”

Knowing the success with their previous schemes to “improve” our lives, I sure hope so.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.