LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Delaware deprived of a ‘basic right’

There have always been referendums, but they were formerly called “petitions.”

Local referendums to raise taxes are common, yet, there is not statewide petition, nor any provision in Delaware state law for one. No window, no phone, no unicorn. The other 49 states do [have such a provision].

Delaware is out of compliance with constitutional law, and the people are thus deprived of this basic right.

• U.S. Constitution, Article IV, Section 4: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government,” and we “pledge allegiance to the flag and to the republic for which it stands.”

• Our republic includes a “Bill of Rights.”

• The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, twice, the “Bill of Rights” apply to the states, as well.

• Article VI establishes the supremacy of constitutional law – which, simply stated, trumps state law.

• 1st Amendment: “ … and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

This is the only way to gain any control over state government.

Fred Allen Bass
Dover

Editor’s note: “Petitions” and “referendums” are not interchangeable terms, but they are sometimes related. A petition, in this sense, is a document with a statement calling for some action, which must be signed by multiple persons of a specified class, e.g., registered voters within the jurisdiction concerned, to take effect.

A referendum is a public vote on a proposition, such as a proposed law, amendment or bond issue, but not on a candidate.

Where these two come together, in a process called “initiative on referendum” or “ballot initiative,” for those jurisdictions which provide for it in their constitutions or charters, occurs when sufficient verified signatures are obtained on an official petition calling for the enactment or repeal of a law: it then is submitted to the jurisdiction’s legislative body, which must either enact the measure the petition calls for, or put the proposition to a referendum, which, if successful, enacts the measure concerned without legislative action.

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