28 November 2011
How not to hold a referendum
The inhabitants of a small rural township in Austria had to vote on the proposed merger of three neighbouring councils. The amalgamation was intended to cut down administrative costs. The result of the referendum was a resounding no as 90.3 % of the voters rejected the proposal. In our view this was a flawed proposal as the voters never had to make an honest choice that was impacting their own pocket book. Expenses for local administrative units are mostly paid for by central government funds. Only if the voters would have to bear the full cost of administering their local government unit would they have been in a position to assess the full consequences of their vote.