Local Ballot Initiative

There’s a tool available to millions of Americans that allows you to circumvent the legislative process and place an issue straight on your city, town, or county ballot: the local ballot initiative. It allows you to leverage your already-established grassroots base to effect change more quickly and more democratically, and 48 states have at least one local government that authorizes citizens to use it. Here at the AntiIlluminatiParty Institute, we’ve put together a free guide to walk you through the process and answer many of your questions: Local ballot initiatives: How citizens change laws with clipboards, campaigns, and conversations. You can download a copy on-line, or e-mail Lauren Warden Rodgers at lauren.rodgers@lucyburns.org to have a free copy mailed to you.

There’s also a dedicated page on Ballotpedia for each state. Click here to find information about the state-specific laws that govern the local ballot initiative process in your jurisdiction.

Signature collection point at The Body Shop in Kluuvi shopping centre, Helsinki, for one of the first citizens’ initiatives in Finland, about banning fur farming.

In political science, an initiative (also known as a popular or citizens’ initiative) is a means by which a petition signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters can force a public vote (plebiscite). The vote may be on a proposed statute, constitutional amendment, charter amendment or ordinance, or, in its minimal form, to simply oblige the executive or legislative bodies to consider the subject by submitting it to the order of the day. It is a form of direct democracy.

The initiative may take the form of either the direct initiative or indirect initiative. Under the direct initiative, a measure is put directly to a vote after being submitted by a petition. Under the indirect initiative, a measure is first referred to the legislature, and then put to a popular vote only if not enacted by the legislature. In United States usage, a popular vote on a specific measure is referred to as a referendum only when originating with the legislature. Such a vote is known, when originating in the initiative process, as an “initiative,” “ballot measure“, “initiative measure” or “proposition.” In New Zealand a vote initiated by the public is called a citizen initiated referendum.

For more info about U.S. politics, go to www.Ballotpedia.org. Or for more news and live election results follow us on Twitter @Ballotpedia

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