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Part 2: Ballot Initiatives as the Citizens Voice

So just to recap:

Ballot Initiatives involve citizens collecting a minimum number of signatures on a petition within a specified time and then placing advisory questions/statutes on the ballot for their fellow citizens to adopt or repeal. 24 states allow the initiative process.

These same citizens also realized that the initiative process could have an “educative value,” by which placing measures on the ballot would encourage citizens to become more civically and politically engaged.

The initiative process is a form of direct democracy and lets voters make decisions on public policy issues, the legislature refuses to address or is unable to resolve by empowering citizens to pass laws. Initiatives, therefore help alleviate voter frustration with the political process.

If the legislature and the governor are resistant, initiatives may be the only way to change the government.
Thus, initiatives and referendums stimulate citizen interest in public policy which in turn increases voter turnout in some states. Voting for political leaders can sometimes be a deterrent for the public so having something else to vote for is an incentive. This is why messaging for ballot initiatives is key.

Public opinion polls in states with initiatives and referendums consistently show voter like them. No state has ever repealed initiatives and referendums.


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