OVERVIEW: BALLOT MEASURE PROGRESS
Progressive policies are passing at the ballot in states such as Arizona, Missouri, Montana, and Florida. Through the power of direct democracy, the People are transforming power, advancing racial equity, and galvanizing a new progressive base.
Through ballot initiatives, citizens have passed policies such as:
- Minimum wage increases
- Legalization and decriminalization of marijuana and psychedelics
- Paid Family Leave
- Medicaid expansion
- Restoration of voting rights
- Protecting and advancing abortion rights
- Removing slavery from state constitutions
- Taxing the wealthy
PROGRESSIVE WINS LEAD TO ATTACKS ON DIRECT DEMOCRACY
BISC has been leading the national, coordinated strategy to pass progressive ballot measures.
Since 2016, dozens of progressive measures have passed in states around the country. Red states have been leading the charge on many important issues. In these states, ballot measures have been the tool of necessity and choice to pass policies that elected officials refuse to take up.
Our victories on minimum wage, earned paid sick time, voting rights and access, redistricting and voter restoration in states like Florida, Arizona, and Missouri have resulted in mounting attacks at state legislatures on the ballot measure process itself.
These attacks have been increasing significantly in recent years; In 2017, BISC monitored just 33 initiative process bills. During the 2022 legislative session, BISC monitored 109 bills intended to alter or restrict the ballot initiative process.
RECENT VICTORIES & PROGRESS:
What happened in the 2022 election?
During the November 2022 general election, ballot measures delivered on critical issues affecting our communities directly. From reproductive rights, to abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude, to passing wage increases and workers rights, to defending the ballot measure process itself — the Will of the People was a powerful voice towards the country we envision and are creating right now.
What does that tell us?
Ballot measures transcend party lines and often receive higher vote percentages than candidates. We see voters supporting progressive policies even when they voted for conservative politicians. Ballot measures are a tried and true way of bypassing partisan politics and turning People Power into policies that transcend divides and improve lives. This truly speaks to the unifying power of ballot measures.
Ballot measures pave the way forward. We know progressive issues transcend party lines and we believe it will help us build a new progressive base. We can deliver for our people through the power of direct democracy.
Who made these wins possible?
These victories belong to our amazing partners and organizers who have worked so hard for so long in vulnerable communities and districts ensuring that their voices are heard and uplifted, when many others had long dismissed them. Their incredible work and perseverance changed the trajectory of this election and we have them to thank.
BISC has been organizing and on the ground with so many of these campaigns for years, building deep relationships with campaign leaders, providing training, and ensuring that campaigns were being supported not only during election season but throughout the 360 ballot measure campaign lifecycle. We also know that we can run equitable campaigns AND win. Congrats to our partners who have worked so hard to make ballot measures love letters to our people.
As we move forward, our work is clear. We must:
- Defend direct democracy and the Will of the People.
- Implement voter-approved initiatives.
- Build off these victories as we move towards equity, justice, and freedom for all.
Together, we will ensure the Will of the People prevails.