A ballot initiative is a process through which citizens propose and vote on new laws directly.


Ballot initiatives fall under the general category of a ballot measure, or a proposed legislation put to the electorate for a vote. The specific feature of a ballot initiative is that the proposed legislation also originates in the electorate: its sponsors collect signatures from the general public, which then gets to vote on it if sufficiently many signatures are collected. A ballot measure that instead originates in the government is called  a referendum in the United States (Ballotpedia 2021b), though in other countries the term may be used more broadly to refer to any type of measure.


Ballot initiatives are relatively rare across the world: their use is concentrated in the United States and Switzerland, and only a few other countries allow and employ them with regularity. All 26 Swiss cantons permit ballot initiatives, as do 24 U.S. states and over half of U.S. cities (Schukraft 2020)....

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