As of today, BISC is monitoring 146 bills to change the ballot measure process in 33 states. Eighty-four bills are constitutional amendments which would need to be referred to voters for approval.
There is a clear connection to ballot process attacks in states with GOP majorities where progressive policy has recently passed at the ballot.
We now have a view of the 2022 ballot measure landscape, and we expect the attacks on democracy to continue throughout the next legislative session.
Many voting access, freedom to protest, and initiative process bills have and will continue to pass in the 2022 legislative session. We will also see these issues on the ballot in many states in 2022 as legislators refer democracy attack amendments to voters.
Strategic Considerations for the 2022 Landscape
This year, we are seeing more sophistication in the policies being proposed – they are being much more bold and direct with their intention to interfere with the process and the policies they are proposing would have much deeper impacts on the initiative process. This year we were also struck by the higher levels of strategy and organizing by the legislators. In many cases, they introduced companion bills in both chambers and with multiple strategic sponsors. They are finding statutory paths to pass new policies rather than having to send these decisions to voters through constitutional amendments.
We are seeing a trend in bills relating to government authority in the ballot measure process including language content/development and the ability of the legislature to alter ballot measures after they are approved by voters. Some of these bills are statutory and would not need voter approval to become law.
What to Expect in 2022
- Voting access, freedom to protest, and initiative process attacks at state legislatures will continue in 2022.
- We will also see these issues on the ballot in many states in 2022 as legislators refer democracy attack amendments to voters.
- State specific research and narrative development to inform our defensive strategies
- Work with our state partners to defend against attacks at the legislature and develop legislative champions for direct democracy and draw the line between us and our opposition
- Beat the drum of democracy attacks and engage voters through strategic earned and social media
- Develop the “story” of the impacts of ballot measures with state surrogates who have been directly impacted
- Work with our Lawyers Guild to explore judicial strategies to challenge ballot measure attack legislation and identify the vulnerabilities in our state processes
- Work with our state partners and Lawyer Guild to run proactive ballot to address our vulnerabilities and strengthen our initiative processes