Reactionary State Legislators Gearing Up to Attack Ballot Measures in 2023
Washington, DC — As state legislatures convene across the country this month, the Fairness Project is closely watching as reactionary politicians begin a new round of attacks on citizen-initiated ballot measures and gearing up to fight back.
READ: The Fairness Project’s Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign in 2023
In response to recent progress made through ballot measures, including several major progressive victories in the 2022 midterms, state legislators have already proposed dozens of new bills to make initiatives prohibitively difficult for voters to pass on their own. These proposals include new requirements that ballot measures pass by a supermajority of voters instead of a simple majority, as well as making petition requirements to qualify measures for the ballot significantly higher.
“Extremist state legislators are feeling really threatened, because voters are taking matters into their own hands to pass popular laws like Medicaid expansion, minimum wage increases, cannabis legalization, paid leave and more. Now, out-of-touch politicians want to shut down direct democracy and consolidate their power,” said Kelly Hall, executive director of the Fairness Project. “The Fairness Project’s Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign has two key wins under its belt to protect direct democracy from these cowardly attacks, and we’re ready to take on more fights in 2023.”
Last year, the Fairness Project worked with in-state coalitions to defeat two legislatively referred proposals for supermajority requirements for ballot measures in South Dakota and Arkansas — Amendment C and Issue 2, respectively. Unfortunately, conservative Arizona leaders were successful in their attack on ballot measures last year, and legislators in Ohio, Missouri, Oklahoma, and more states are now looking to follow Arizona’s lead.
Since 2021, the Fairness Project has organized $5.6 million to fight attacks on the ballot measure process through its Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign. Read more here about the Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign’s next steps.