What We Do

Our innovative research, training and our expert strategic assistance helps ensure the best outcomes for ballot measure campaigns. With the support of visionary funders and committed national and state partners, we provide these valuable programs:

The Roadmap to 2020

The Roadmap to 2020 is a multi-cycle, proactive plan which uses ballot measures as tools to strengthen the economy and reclaim our democracy.

The Roadmap to 2020 strategy was created by the Victory 2020 Working Group, a coalition of national and state partners, who have created plans in 11 states, that spell out strategic ballot-measure sequencing across multiple cycles.

This research-based strategy is grounded in the principle that ballot measures are not just a tool to pass good policy, but also to move a national narrative around important a just economy and a representative democracy. In 2016, its first cycle in operation, the Roadmap strategy helped states from Maine to Washington pass policies to raise their minimum wage, provide earned sick time, fund K-12 education and create specific plans to strengthen their democracy.

BISC is currently working with partners in “Roadmap states” to advance economy and democracy measures for the 2018 and 2020 cycles.

Ballot Integrity

The ballot measure process and results are under attack across the country. In 2017 alone, conservative state legislatures and governors have proposed more than 40 pieces of legislation in over 20 states aimed to hamper direct democracy. It’s no exaggeration to say that there is a coordinated, conservative assault on direct democracy.

The conservative lock hold on governorships and state legislatures means that direct democracy is one of the few avenues for voters to enact popular legislation that helps working families, like raising the minimum wage and enacting earned sick leave. Yet, conservatives are using their expanded control of state governments to attack the ballot measure process - trying to silence the voice of voters.

BISC is the only national organization monitoring and drawing connections between state attacks. BISC is also the only organization working closely with in-state and national partners to coordinate a response to these attacks by offering strategic advice to protect direct democracy, and helping states come up with strategies to work within restrictions when necessary.

Training

Most people believe that if they’ve run an organizing, issue or candidate campaign, they can easily take those skills and run a ballot initiative, and while the basic skills might useful, the strategies and benchmarks differ greatly for ballot measures.

Which is why in 2013, BISC partnered with Wellstone Action to create a first-of-its-kind training program focused exclusively on ballot measures.

Through a series of both webinars and in-person trainings, participants receive training on all parts of ballot-measure campaigns - from signature gathering and qualification to every aspect of the actual campaign itself including polling, coalition building, paid media and voter contact. Using a combination of expert-led overviews, group discussions and hands-on exercises, the training grounds participants in the critical knowledge and skills they will need to manage successful ballot-measure campaigns.

To learn more about our training program, email us at [email protected]

Defensive Work

Over the past two decades, BISC has advised states on measures to defend against bad policy that would limit rights, disenfranchise voters, or limit economic opportunity, including threatening workers right to organize. BISC works closely with state and national partners to offer strategic advice, training and sound the alarm on coordinated, multi-state attacks.