The initiative process began at the start of the 20th century as a way for local citizens to join together to pass laws.
But in 2016, national liberal leaders see state ballot measures as their best option for winning on some issues, says The Center for Public Integrity.
Dismayed by their prospects in Congress and in Republican-dominated state legislatures, the groups plan to use ballot initiatives to push raising the minimum wage in Maine, legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts, closing gun sale loopholes in Nevada, protecting endangered species in Oregon — and other campaigns in at least eight additional states, the center says.
Republicans last year launched the Center for Conservative Initiatives in the nation’s capital to counter the liberal ballot measures that they anticipate will arrive in 2016 in record numbers nationwide.
“Liberal groups have been forced to spend heavily on ballot initiatives in an effort to circumvent elected representatives because in states around the country the public has overwhelmingly rejected their out-of-touch candidates and messages,” says Matt Walter, who heads the group.