Ballot Initiatives and Ballot Measures
Deciding to Put A Ballot Measure On the Ballot-Go Or No-Go
In today’s political climate of political partisanship and mistrust, constituents are turning to ballot measures to bypass traditional government controls to pass legislation.
Take some of the most notable 2018 ballot measure topics and trends:
Ballot Language Basics
Ballot language for ballot initiatives matters more than anything else but don't take our word for it. It has long been said that ballot measure language can be the difference between winning and losing. Here are some basics on ballot measure wording and how it can make or break your measure:
Say Yes to Proactive Ballot Initiatives
As someone who has been working on ballot initiatives for many years, the phrase “ballot initiatives of the future” makes me cringe. Ballot initiatives, for a long time, have put progressives on the defense, and many believe that future ballot initiatives only reveal a similarly bleak picture. Yes, there are a few notable exceptions (minimum wage, marijuana, and campaign finance) but for the most part, progressives have consistently played catch-up when it comes to ballot initiatives. As we attend BISC's Road Ahead conference I am reminded of how often ballot measures have been used as a means of advancing divisive, conservative issues.
Qualifying a Ballot Measure Is Not Easy
Sometimes the most difficult part of a ballot measure campaign is qualifying a ballot measure for the the ballot. Advocacy and political organizations alike have long used the ballot measure (or referendum, question, initiative, etc., depending on where you’re from) as a tool to advance their mission. It’s a way to get the public involved with your issue, and to show widespread support if successful. We’ve seen plenty of them here, from raising the tobacco tax to marriage equality and while the content of the initiatives differ, they all have one thing in common: they have to qualify. Here are 7 tips on qualifying a ballot measure:
Tea Party Loses Big on Cincinnati Ballot Initiative
I’m sure it’s no surprise to any of you that last Tuesday Terry McAuliffe won the Gubernatorial election in Virginia – though the Attorney General race is still too close to officially call – and Chris Christie easily won re-election in New Jersey. It also likely doesn’t come as a surprise that Bill de Blasio wrapped up a big victory in his election as Mayor of New York City and that Marty Walsh, a former Labor organizer, and current State Representative, won in the first open race for Mayor of Boston in over twenty years. But, I’m guessing not as many people were paying attention to the various ballot initiatives around the country, including the Tea Party-backed Question 4 in Cincinnati that looked to overhaul (read: destroy) the public pension system in the city.
Ballot Measures: Is a Footprint in the Sand Worth Your Money?
So let me start by saying that this kid loves ballot measures as much as the next guy. In the right circumstances, a ballot measure can be an effective way to push changes that would otherwise never make it through the legislative process. And really, what’s cooler than democracy in action? But more often than not, I think we move far too quickly to the conclusion that going to the ballot is the right step to take.