“Explainer: Shaping Democracy: 2023’s Statewide Ballot Measures and What Lies Ahead in 2024”

Derek Clinger:

The past year saw a continued trend of increased interest in direct democracy, with the highest number of statewide ballot measures for an odd-numbered election year in over 15 years. These measures, which came from both state legislatures and citizen-led initiative campaigns, addressed an array of subjects ranging from reproductive rights to religious rights, public utilities to public benefits, and taxation to timber production.

Many of the measures decided also involved matters related to democracy. These measures presented voters with essential questions like who can vote, how elections should be run, and whether to restrict their own ability to engage in direct democracy in the future. The particulars of the measures varied, as did the voters’ responses. And with the coming presidential election cycle in 2024, voters can expect to see even more of these types of ballot measures in the coming year.

This explainer recaps 2023’s democracy-related ballot measures, exploring the legal and political context in which they were proposed, as well as some of the arguments offered for and against them. It then looks ahead to the democracy-related measures that may appear on the ballot during the pivotal 2024 presidential election cycle….

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