Direct Democracy in the States: A 50-State Survey of the Journey to the Ballot

This Report surveys current state laws affecting direct democracy, with an emphasis on those relating to voter participation and understanding.  For instance, what information appears on the ballot, and who prepares it? What standards exist, if any, to ensure that ballot language is clear and impartial? When, and how, can courts step in?

The Executive Summary, available for download below, highlights key findings of this 50-state snapshot, as well as ways in which state laws may undermine direct democracy’s objective of empowering voters to make policy choices. The Full Report also includes state-specific information on the types of direct democracy available, the timing of direct democracy elections, ballot contents and other information provided to voters, and the involvement of the state judicial branch.

Click the button to download the Executive Summary or the Full Report, or click directly on a state below.

Executive Summary      Full Report        State Summaries

This report was published and last updated on November 6, 2023.