While the presidential election tends to receive the lion's share of news
coverage, the public will
also vote on many state initiatives and referendums in November.
Initiatives and referendums give the public a chance to participate in
making laws. An initiative is a measure placed on the ballot by the
citizens, while a referendum allows the public to vote on a bill proposed by
the legislature. Twenty-seven states use initiatives, referendums or both,
according to the
Initiative and Referendum Institute.
Check the institute's map to see what your state offers.
From the medicinal use of marijuana to gambling laws, the language of ballot measures can be confusing. Several
sites can help you research referendums in your state.
Project Vote Smart has compiled a
list of ballot measures for
each state. Voters can read the text of the initiative and find links to
sites of supporters and opponents.
Ballot Watch keeps track of more than 200 ballot
measures. The site's list of the top issues addressed in initiatives
includes eminent domain, minimum wage, abortion, racial preferences, government finances, tobacco and animal rights. Scroll down to vital stats and click on your state to find links
to its election site and voter guide.