Protecting the Ballot Initiative Process
Throughout history, voters have used ballot initiatives
to create positive change when politicians fail to act
What is a ballot initiative?
A ballot measure is a proposal to change the law or the constitution that voters approve or reject. They are often generated by special commissions or legislative processes.
Ballot initiatives are a type of ballot measure that is largely driven by members of the public. With a ballot initiative, citizens can directly submit a proposed law or constitutional amendment to the ballot for voters to vote on.
Why are ballot initiatives important?
Ballot initiatives are one of the purest forms of American democracy. They allow citizens to get the issues they care about placed on the ballot and voted on by the people, often in cases where politicians fail to act. This process, also called direct democracy, is a core winning strategy in the fight to end corruption.
The Benefits of Ballot Initiatives
Allows citizens to have a direct say in the legislative process
Bypasses the normal legislative process which can be slow or controlled by special interests
Promotes greater citizen participation in the democratic process
Can address issues that may not be priorities for elected officials
Gives citizens a way to hold politicians accountable
Creates opportunities to pass laws that are supported by voters but opposed by politicians
We’re protecting the ballot initiative process in cities and states all across America.
Will you join the movement?
Why is the ballot initiative process under attack?
All across the country, state politicians are introducing – and in some cases passing – laws that make it nearly impossible to pass ballot initiatives. Sometimes they try to raise the threshold (%) to pass the initiative. In other cases, they try to make it harder to collect signatures to qualify for the ballot. With these ridiculous and anti-democratic requirements, politicians’ goal is to gum up the process and take away voters’ rights.
Politicians are attacking the ballot initiative process because it’s been so successful. Many recent citizen-led initiatives have won at the ballot, advancing issues that establishment politicians refused to move forward. And establishment politicians sure don’t like when their power is threatened. So in the last five years, politicians in 11 states have proposed at least 64 bills that would make it much harder for voters to pass ballot initiatives.
How do you get an initiative on the ballot?
The specifics vary depending on where you live, but generally, citizens must draft the initiative, gather a legally-required amount of signatures from registered voters, and submit it to the appropriate election official. That official then verifies the signatures and determines if the initiative meets the requirements to qualify for the ballot. Once it qualifies, supporters campaign to persuade citizens to vote and pass it on Election Day.
What are some examples of successful ballot initiatives?
Ballot initiatives have been used to pass a variety of notable laws in different states including women’s suffrage, gay marriage legalization, banning indoor smoking, Ranked Choice Voting, and anti-gerrymandering and anti-corruption laws.
What do we mean by “direct democracy”?
America is a representative democracy which means that we vote for our elected officials who work, vote and pass laws on our behalf.
The ballot initiative process is a form of direct democracy, meaning that it’s we, the people, who are voting on and passing legislation directly.
Our Campaigns to Save the Ballot Initiative Process
Nov 8 2022
In 2022, voters in Arkansas stopped a corrupt scheme to make it harder for voters to pass laws at the ballot.
May 24 2022
In 2022, RepresentUs led a bipartisan coalition to defeat a proposal by self-serving politicians that would have diluting voters' power.
May 13 2022
In 2022, Missouri faced multiple legislative attempts to attack the ballot measure process, but a grassroots opposition campaign was able to put an end these attacks.
If you are interested in protecting ballot initiatives, now is the time to get involved. Attacks on the ballot initiative process are at an all-time high by self-serving politicians who want to take power away from voters.
Ballot Initiative News & Commentary
Missouri Lawmakers Are Once Again Targeting the Ballot Initiative Process
Feb 6 2023
RepresentUs released a report in 2022 that found that 11 states have proposed over 60 laws and resolutions since 2017Read More
States of chaos: Moore v. Harper could open the floodgates for politicians to overturn 200+ state election laws
Dec 6 2022
New report outlines potential impact of Supreme Court giving state politicians unchecked power to set election rulesRead More
Ohio politicians use holiday season as cover to take away voters' voice
Nov 22 2022
Proposed legislation is part of a nationwide trend to make passing ballot initiatives harderRead More