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:
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.
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:
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