Effective referenda

With limited time for research, it's no wonder that voters unintentionally vote against their own interests. Because each side only highlights its benefits, often even conscientious voters miss counter-intuitive implications. It's unreasonable to expect anyone to be able to fully grasp the implications of a decision at first glance.

To combat this, Oregon has established the Citizens' Initiative Review Commission and Citizen Panels. In many ways, it's like jury duty, except that instead of delivering a verdict, the panel is charged with producing a statement in support, a statement in opposition, a statement of impartial findings, and a statement of additional policy considerations regarding public initiatives.

For referenda to work effectively, voters need to have pertinent information from sources who are as unbiased as possible. Done any other way, decisions are based on oversimplified arguments and emotion instead of reason.