Washington, DC – Kelly Hall, Executive Director of the Fairness Project, joined the When the People Decide podcast to raise the alarm about the GOP-backed efforts to curtail the citizen-led ballot measure process in red and purple states. 

In several Republican-dominated state legislatures, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Arizona, and Arkansas, legislation has been or is currently aimed at increasing the requirements necessary for a ballot measure to qualify for the ballot, with the goal of making it more difficult for citizens to pass policies themselves. The Fairness Project’s Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign is currently working to defeat these anti-democracy efforts and protect the ballot measure process. 

“Not only are these things important for South Dakota and Arkansas this year, but we know that legislatures across the country will be watching these results because very similar proposals made it almost all the way through the legislatures in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arizona,” Hall said on the podcast. “Once one of these things succeeds, we fear it will catch fire. And so we are collaborating across states with both in-state and national organizations through our Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign, saying we’ve got to nip this in the bud. We cannot let one of these move forward and succeed, because then we’ll be fighting this fight on every front in future cycles.”

In the 23 states that allow citizen-initiated ballot measure processes, ballot measures are a pathway to advance policies like abortion protections, raising the minimum wage, Medicaid expansion, and marijuana decriminalization — especially when state governments refuse to take action. As a result, extremist lawmakers and special interests have been waging a war against the ballot measure process in order to stifle citizen-initiated policies on progressive issues. 

“These are embarrassing fissures between what their voters are actually voting for and what these politicians claim to be representing on behalf of those same constituents. It is very difficult to maintain that you should be doing absolutely everything in your power to be undermining Obamacare or undermining labor unions or undermining some of these more redistributed economic justice policies, when every time your red state voters are asked they keep showing up and saying no, we want paid sick leave, we want paid family leave, we want higher wages, we want more healthcare. That’s a very counter narrative to what folks are trying to sell as elected officials,” said Kelly Hall. 

In addition to its Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign, this election cycle the Fairness Project is going on the offensive to raise the minimum wage in Nebraska, protect reproductive freedom in Michigan and Vermont, curb predatory medical debt in Arizona, and expand Medicaid coverage in South Dakota. 

Listen to Kelly Hall’s full interview with Jenna Spinelle HERE

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