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Term Limits, Initiative and Referendum and Better Ballot Access (and Statewide Indigent Defense) Ought to be in the Debate!

I have written on this and maybe the Huffman Advance got me excited about issues again but let me add three more planks for a great platform:

  1.  Term limits:  We need some variation of the constitutional amendment Delegate Sam Rasoul introduced last year (HJ18) that limits terms to 12 years.  It ought to be 8 years like Ohio.  But I’ll live with 12.
  2. Initiative and Referendum:  Now I know there are states (California and Ohio come readily to mind) where there are many items on the state ballot and some are frankly crazy, but with limits the acts of the people to decide important questions ought to be plenary.  Maybe a limit of five items per ballot year and the initiatives must be on a general election ballot and it might ought to take say 100,000 signatures to make the ballot.  Virginia could have term limits by initiative and referendum.  The state constitution would have to be amended for this too.
  3. And finally, speaking of Sandy’s new hero, Del. Rasoul, he also tried to bring about better ballot access (HB 82).  We need to lower the percentage to help a third party to make the ballot or say 2.5 or 3% of the statewide vote (President too) and allow the PARTY to use the petitioning process to gain major party status – say 15 or 20,000 signatures and they would have access for two or maybe four years.  (Rasoul’s bill was at 5% and another bill to reduce the signatures to 5,000 for statewide ballot access, introduced by Senator John Edwards of Roanoke in 2015 also failed.)

Now a bonus point for a potential platform for a visionary candidate to open up the Virginia political system but it is not political at all but just something that is right to do:  A statewide indigent defense system.

I have written at this blog extensively on this question.

An executive summary:  The fact that not all cities and counties of our Commonwealth have a public defender office and all the institutional features of such an office (specialists such as mitigation/sentencing/appellate, investigators and some money for experts without asking the court and tipping off the Commonwealth’s Attorney on the need for the money) verge on a Sixth Amendment and Equal Protection violation for poor indigent suspects accused of serious crimes.  We need a statewide indigent defense system with an appellate and post-conviction/innocence project immediately.

Might a brave, courageous Republican (or Del. Rasoul! Or a Libertarian?) take these issues as part of a platform?


About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

2 Responses to “Term Limits, Initiative and Referendum and Better Ballot Access (and Statewide Indigent Defense) Ought to be in the Debate!”

  1. Trump Watcher says:

    Term limits are just campaign rhetoric, as the elected people are not going to legislate themselves out of their own job. On the other hand, elected government had/has no had such problem legislating many millions of American people out of their jobs by passing favorable legislation, corrupt and crooked trade deals, and subsidies, to encourage Anti-American, American companies to move to communist China, Mexico, or anywhere else cheap slave labor can be found and effectively be processed by the rich. Processed into even more enormous wealth that allows the rich to purchase those elected as if they were a pack of cigarettes or quart of milk, and then take the jobs of even more Americans via corruption.

    Observations of Trump so far,

    1) While Secretary of State, Republicans (Trump) say that the Clinton’s profited by donations from foreigners to the Clinton Foundation, is this not correct? And, that the Clinton Foundation needs to be investigated and Hillary thrown in jail?

    But yet, isn’t Trump already profiting from these same foreigners who are now booking events at Trump’s business interests? Such as the Trump Hotel down the street from the White House. So, is it now righteous because a Republican is doing the same thing that they accuse the Clinton’s of doing?

    2) Unemployment is much higher than the Obama numbers indicate says Republicans. And yet, Trump gave a speech at the Carrier plant last Friday and said he had saved 1100 jobs, and it was really about 800. The now confirmed difference is over 25%. Yet isn’t it considered righteous now because the Republicans are “cooking the books”?

    3) When Obama said “if you like your doctor then you can keep them”, it was later called a terrible, terrible, lie. And yet, the things that Trump’s says that turn out to be lies, well, they were just rhetoric that should never have been believed in the first place, true?

    I believe Trump will destroy whatever Bush 43′ didn’t. We will see. I hope that he does what he promised, but, isn’t it written somewhere, “you shall know them by their works”? If Trump could just stop lying for a day or two maybe I could stop typing.

    Oh, and I didn’t vote for either stupid or Hillary.

  2. Trump Watcher says:

    What really shows how the ignorant American people are being manipulated by the establishment owned media?

    Yesterday, the news of the day was?

    Trump surrounding his sorry fat ass with this nations billionaires while holed up in his Gotham city fasade of wealth. How many of those billionaires in Gotham city yesterday would be billionaires without communist China’s constant and continuing manipulation of it currency, and the subsequent massive trade deficit? Communist China currency manipulation has allowed communist China to literally suck the life out of middle class America by taking somewhere well into the millions of jobs from this country. Not just any jobs, but good paying decent jobs. Also, the jobs that are still in American have seen exhaustive pay stagnation, and even decline in employee compensation as a result of communist China’s currency manipulation.

    Wall St. and the rich will never give up on communist China. It is and has been their cash cow for years, and will continue to be so for the future to come. It is the reason most billionaires are what they are. In one from or another, they all used communist China’s currency manipulation to accumulate billions.

    Trump got elected by saying he would change that, along with the deal that Obama and the Democrats cut with the Clinton’s in 2008.

    It’s funny. Blog’s such as Virginia Right, (there are many others) were all in for the Trump message of getting tough on communist China, sending the illegals back home, putting America first. And yet, those who own these same blogs now refuse to employ writers who will focus their writing entirely on stopping communist China, the 35% tariff, sending the illegals packing, and putting America first. Those who will write constantly to keep the pressure on Trump and Republicans. Those blog owners appear to be nothing but hypocrites.

    Could it be that the blogs owners are in hiding? Hiding because they see what a mistake Trump is already? Are the middle-class even considered to be America in the Trump dictionary? Or, does the Trump America only consist of the wealthy?


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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