For the past two decades, BISC has worked to increase civic participation and create a social and economic reality that allows our families to thrive. Take a look at our journey.
The Ballot Initiative Strategy Center is founded as a project of People for the American Way with the goal of creating a national, progressive ballot measure strategy.
The BISC Foundation Launches
BISC launches The BISC Foundation as a 501 (c)(3) organization with the goal of tracking the money behind ballot initiatives.
BISC’s First Big Win
BISC plays a key role in defeating an anti-choice initiative in Maine, showing its potential to impact ballot measure campaigns.
The Start of a Strategy
The fight to defeat measures against marriage equality reinforces the need for a national ballot measure strategy and provides the playbook for the 2006 minimum wage fight.
Beating Back TABOR
In more than two dozen states, BISC and its partners work to prevent TABOR (Taxpayer Bill of Rights) initiatives from reaching the 2006 ballot by challenging instances of signature fraud. Ultimately, TABOR only ends up on the ballot in three states.
BISC Plays Offense and Defense
BISC plays offense and defense by working with campaigns to raise the minimum wage in six states and defeating the three TABOR measures on the ballot.
The Big, Bad Ballot Initiative Book
BISC publishes The Big, Bad Ballot Initiative book, the first-ever manual for running progressive ballot measure campaigns.
The First Road Ahead Conference
After the successful 2006 cycle, BISC holds its first-ever Road Ahead Conference in Phoenix, Arizona to debrief and look forward to the future.
Upholding Affirmative Action
BISC leads the progressive strategy to fight businessman Ward Connerly’s anti-affirmative action ballot measures in five states. BISC and its partners were able to keep the measures off the ballot in three states and run a campaign that led to its defeat in another.
A Unified Labor Strategy
BISC brings together partners from across the labor community to create a unified strategy for ballot measures by forming the first ballot measure labor table.
Most Valuable Think Tank
BISC is named “Most Valuable Think Tank” by The Nation.
A Proactive, Progressive Strategy
Despite a few key wins on minimum wage, the progressive community has been playing defense on conservative ballot measures for over three decades. In 2011, BISC begins meeting with progressive community leaders to discuss and plan a strategic shift towards a proactive, progressive ballot measure strategy. Later, the group tasked with driving the strategy would be named Victory 2020.
The Proactive Strategy Pays Off
Ballot measures become an increasingly potent tool to pass progressive policies. There were major marijuana decriminalization and marriage equality victories this year, and the DREAM Act legislation was affirmed by voters in Maryland.
Training Ballot Measure Leaders
BISC and Wellstone Action team up to launch the progressive community’s first and only training program that focuses exclusively on ballot measures.
Progressive Wins in Red States
BISC led partners to big wins on minimum wage, women’s health and voting rights. So-called, “progressive” ballot measures do well in red states, reinforcing the idea that ballot measures can be a powerful check on conservative state governments.
A Bright Spot in 2016
Ballot measure victories become one of the few bright spots in a difficult election year. BISC’s partners pass minimum wage increases in four states, enact earned sick leave policies in two, and pass revenue measures in two more.
Roadmap to 2020
BISC officially launches the Roadmap to 2020 strategy in eleven states. This proactive ballot measure strategy seeks to pass economy and democracy-focused initiatives.
Protecting Direct Democracy
Conservative groups mount a coordinated attack on direct democracy in more than a dozen states. BISC strikes back by working with partners in states from Maine to Arizona to help them preserve ballot measure process in their states.
A New Way to Understand Voters
BISC launches an innovative research platform that tracks changing voter opinion in real time, giving campaigns in eleven states new insight into shifting voter opinions.
BISC Celebrates 20 Years
BISC’s 20th anniversary year promises to be one of its biggest to date. A few things on tap: new research into how measures on the same ballot impact each other, and a ballot measure landscape chock full of economy and democracy-related measures.