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Why Straight-Ticket Referendum Voting Is Right

Finally, I think it irresponsible to vote against ALL of the changes based upon your opposition to one rule. The ballot has 6 questions. Why throw the baby out with the bath water? If you actually look at some of the other proposals, you might find you agree with them.

That’s SMU lawprof Fred Moss’s argument against straight-ticket “No” referendum voting.

Here’s why it is responsible to vote against all of the changes.

First, if the State Bar had wanted lawyers to vote for the proposals with which they agreed and against the proposals with which they disagreed, it would have made it possible to vote for or against each amendment. It didn’t do that; instead the State Bar has manipulated the ballot for its own purposes: it has grouped disparate rules together under individual questions in hope that support for the worthier rules will overwhelm opposition to the stinkers. That, as Iain Simpson says, is no way to run a referendum.

Second, the State Bar’s ballot manipulation violates the statute requiring a referendum.

If you don’t mind being unlawfully manipulated by the State Bar, weigh the good and the harm in each question and take good amendments with the bad. If, however, you find the State Bar’s conduct of this referendum—and its disingenuous propagandizing, at lawyers’ expense, in favor of the proposals—objectionable, then vote against all of the changes. The State Bar will get the message, and will give you another chance to vote on each change.


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