In the first century of California's direct democracy system, there were only 66 attempts to overturn a new law through a referendum - compared to more than 1,600 initiatives. This year, on the 100th anniversary, there are nine referenda.
Stern: "You have a Democratic governor and a Democratic legislature passing Democratic bills that Republicans are very upset about."
Bob Stern is the former president of the Center for Governmental Studies. He says there's a big advantage to the referendum process:
Stern: "Voters tend to vote no these days. So you have a three- or four-point advantage by going to a referendum since you want the no vote."
But to get to the ballot, you have to qualify - and that's not easy. Initiative backers get 150 days to gather signatures. Referendum backers only get 90.
This year, an effort to overturn a requirement that public schools teach historical contributions of gays and lesbians failed to qualify. Critics of allowing state financial aid for college students who are undocumented immigrants are just starting to gather signatures. And one referendum may be close to qualifying: an effort to overturn State Senate maps drawn by California's new Citizens Redistricting Commission.