Disappointingly, though perhaps not surprisingly, voter turnout in Portugal has collapsed from 91.5 percent in 1975, the year of the first democratic elections, to 58.1 percent in the 2011 parliamentary elections.
Maryland voters made history by resoundingly voting in support of the Maryland Dream Act, which ensures that all of our young people have the opportunity to pursue affordable higher education. It's time for the rest of our country to follow suit.
As a nation whose prosperity and well-being has always been tied to natural resources, Americans love the outdoors. A poll this past July found that 80 percent of us even believe that conservation is downright patriotic.
It takes big money to play in California's ballot measure process today, so billionaires are plenty welcome. But if they are in it for themselves, they aren't likely to fool the voters, who have a remarkable knack for rejecting any ballot initiative with a stink behind it.
Disparate as the California ballot measures are this year, all have one thing in common: They are all initiatives. And this process of direct democracy is here to stay, so let's try to improve it. Here are two ideas to ponder.
There was a lot of celebrating in California during the last week as gay and lesbian couples could finally get married legally. But for the newlyweds themselves, there was even more celebration for the most-basic rights to some of life's most mundane activities.