“Are ballot initiatives good for democracy?” is the fourth of a six-part series of panel discussions hosted by the Election Law Clinic.
In the last five years, dozens of pro-democracy ballot initiatives won, seemingly against all the odds, including enfranchising some 1.4 million formerly incarcerated people in Florida, and delivering independent, citizen-led, redistricting commissions in a number of states. The voices of the people were, ostensibly, heard. Yet, it was just over ten years ago that marriage equality proponents sought to overturn Prop 8 (which won a majority of votes in California) through the Courts, rather than at the ballot box. With more and more groups proposing and sponsoring pro-democracy ballot initiatives, we ask: are ballot initiatives actually good for democracy?