Category Archives: Citizens Initiative Review

The Promises and Pitfalls of Ballot Initiatives in the US

Photo Credit: CA Votes

This is the second of two posts by HKS MPP’18 James Pagano exploring the promises and pitfalls of direct democracy. In this post, James examines California’s experience with ballot initiatives – exposing where they are vulnerable and suggesting how they can be used to empower citizens and strengthen democracy. Read James’ first post here

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Filed under Citizens Initiative Review, Elections, Participation

Making Ballot Initiatives More Voter-Friendly and Deliberative


Sam 2In this post Sam Feigenbaum, Legislative Aide to Massachusetts State Representative Jonathan Hecht, offers a first-person account of local efforts to bring Citizens’ Initiative Review to Massachusetts. First developed in Oregon, Citizens’ Initiative Review combines the benefits of both democratic deliberation and direct democracy. “It is critical,” Feigenbaum notes, “that voters are able to access reliable and helpful information to help them understand ballot questions before they head to the polls.” In April 2015, the Ash Center hosted a workshop and panel discussion on Citizens’ Initiative Review as part of its Challenges to Democracy public dialogue series. See photos and listen to an audio recording of Getting to Yes (or No): Making Ballot Initiatives More Voter-Friendly and Deliberative here. We look forward to following the development of Citizens’ Initiative Review in Massachusetts—check back here for updates! Continue reading

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Filed under Citizens Initiative Review, Innovation, Participation, Voting Rights