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Initiative and Referendum

Initiative and Referendum

INITIATIVE & REFERENDUM

notepad and pencilHow each state conducts the initiative process varies. NCSL has details on signature requirements, subject restrictions and title drafting. Start with The Initiative Process 101.

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RECALLS

blurry photo, with the word "vote"Recall is a procedure that allows citizens to remove and replace a public official before the end of a term of office. Some states permit recalls; others don't. Requirements for signatures, and procedures for how to replace the recalled office holder vary. 

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STATES WITH I & R

map of the U.S.24 states allow initiatives or referendum on statewide issues. The details for these states varies in terms of the writing of the ballot title and summary, the number of signatures needed, and what types of measures can be put on the ballot: direct citizen initiatives, indirect initiatives or referendum.

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DATABASES

database NCSL maintains two databases that relate to Initiatives and Referendum. The first includes legislation that impacts the I & R process. The second captures all statewide ballot measures over the years.

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OVERVIEW | INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM

24 states permit citizen initiatives, and all states permit citizens to vote on ballot measures in one form or another, through the mechanism of popular referenda and legislative referenda. The overall trend in recent years has been toward an increased number of initiatives and referenda to appear on ballots, all affecting state policies and budgets.  NCSL maintains data on the specifics of the process in all 24 states that permit citizen initiatives, a database of measures that have appeared on the ballot, and a database of I & R legislation.  A comprehensive overview of the recall process is also available.

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Fall Forum 2014
State Vote

FEATURED

  • Ballot Measures Database

    This database is updated as new state ballot measures qualify to be on the 2014 ballot. On election night, each entry is updated with “pass” or “fail.” Also find historical information on previous state ballot measures from the past century.

  • States and Election Reform | The Canvass: August 2014

    The August 2014 edition of The Canvass features an article about voter turnout and the efforts by some states to increase participation in elections, a story that highlights state recount policies, interviews with a legislator and elections administrator and other elections-related news from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

  • Initiative & Referendum Database 2014

    This database contains legislation relating to the initiative and referendum (ballot measures) process. Topics include signature gathering, deadlines, requirements for titles, and more. By sorting, users can find all legislation or restrict the search to enactments.

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