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Argument: Direct democracy is relatively cheap

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John F. Knutsen. "Direct Democracy." 1993: "One objection to widespread use of direct democracy concerns its alleged high direct costs. According to Kendall and Louw (Kendall, 1989, page 135), the Swiss Federal chancellery estimates the costs of a national initiative combined with a federal counterproposal to about 1 Swiss franc per voter. Even when special ballots have to be held to decide single issues, the costs are modest. In California such a special ballot was held in 1973. It cost the state about USD 20 million, or about 80 cents (USD 0.80) per capita. (Walker, page 93). In addition to the direct costs incurred by the government, comes the costs associated with launching an initiative. In Switzerland this cost is estimated to at least one franc per petition signature (Junker, page 122). In California initiative campaigns cost several million dollars. In per capita terms however, these costs are still marginal, which is why this method of making decisions is so effective. Even if we assume that the Swiss spend a few million francs (everything included) on national issues every year, this has to be compared with a Swiss federal budget of about 23 billion francs (1985) (Junker, page 40)."

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