South Carolina’s Jim Gordon Honored for Reform Work Organizing Group to Improve State’s Initiative Process

Tue, Jan 11 2011

(LAKE RIDGE, VA) – Today, Citizens in Charge Foundation, a national voter rights group focused on the ballot initiative and referendum process, presented Jim Gordon, state coordinator of Voters-In-Charge, a group working to improve and expand initiative and referendum rights in South Carolina, with the January 2011 John Lilburne Award for his work to reform the state’s local initiative law and to establish a statewide initiative process.

“Jim Gordon believes citizens should be able to hold their government accountable and that the initiative and referendum petition process allows voters to do just that,” said Citizens in Charge Foundation President Paul Jacob. “Convincing legislators to enact such reforms and share power with the people is a difficult task, but Jim is working tirelessly to create a more open and accessible initiative process in South Carolina.”

While South Carolina citizens do not currently enjoy initiative rights statewide, they do have a process at the local level. Through his group Voters-In-Charge, Jim is working to convince legislators to reduce the number of signatures needed to place an initiative on the local ballot from 15 percent to 5 percent of voters who voted in the last presidential election. This reduction would allow citizens to more easily place issues of concern on local ballots.

“Allowing South Carolinians to put measures on the statewide ballot and making it easier for them to use the local initiative process are important steps in re-connecting government with the people,” Jacob added. “We are happy to honor Jim this month for speaking out and working to build a coalition to win these reforms.”

A poll commissioned in the summer of 2010 by the Citizens in Charge and Citizens in Charge Foundation found that South Carolina voters favor having a statewide initiative process by a whopping seven-to-one margin.

Each month, Citizens in Charge Foundation presents the John Lilburne Award to a citizen, or citizens, working to protect and defend the First Amendment petition rights of Americans.  John Lilburne was a 17th Century English pamphleteer, political activist, and champion of individual rights who advocated constitutional government and pioneered the use of petitioning and referenda for redress against government power and abuse. For a complete list of past Lilburne Award winners please click here.

ABOUT CITIZENS IN CHARGE FOUNDATION:
Citizens in Charge Foundation is the only national transpartisan voter rights group dedicated to protecting and expanding the ballot initiative and referendum process. We believe good government starts with the voter. For more information visit us at: www.CitizensInChargeFoundation.org.