Ballot Initiatives

Initiative: “The right or procedure by which legislation may be introduced or enacted directly by the people, as in the Swiss Confederation and in many of the States of the United States;”
– Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary

Searchable Database of ALL US Initiatives and Referenda by the National Conference of State Legislatures

PAST Successes of State Initiatives

(Many were later adopted by Congress) (Mouseover)

Abolition of poll taxes

Aid to dependent children, blind, mentally ill

Animal rights

Bottle deposit bills

Clean Elections

Direct election of US Senators

Direct primaries

Environmental initiatives

Food sales tax exemptions

Legal marijuana

Medical marijuana

Merit systems for civil servants

Minimum wages

Mining reclamation

Mining severance & oil extraction taxes

Nuclear Freeze

Old age pensions

Open meetings

Prohibiting cyanide mining

Renewable Energy Requirements for Utilities

Public school funding

State financial audits

Sunshine laws

Tax limits

Term limits

Victim rights

Women’s suffrage

Workman’s compensation


FUTURE Potential of National Initiatives

(Percentages show popular support. I’ve left in older polls to show how progressive Americans really are.)

Trade must be fair (88%)

Stronger Environmental Protection (83%)

Enforce equal pay for women (79%)

Protect roadless areas (76%)

Pay $50/yr. more to cut hunger (75%)

Re-instate limits on campaign donations (72%)

Label genetically modified foods) (68%)

Universal Health Care (67%) End foreign military aid (65%)

U.S. cut greenhouse gases now (65%)

U.S. sign 37 treaties it now blocks (various)


Ballotpedia has lots more!

“On the most major issues we’ve dealt with in the past 50 years, the public was more likely to be right…based on the judgment of history…than the legislatures or Congress.” -George Gallup, Sr.

Initiatives are intended “to restore, not destroy, representative government” and “In order to clean house the one thing we need is a good broom. Initiatives and referendums are good brooms.”-President Woodrow Wilson

“The cure for the ailments of democracy is more democracy.” -John Dewey