Initiative, Referendum and Recall

An initiative enables citizens to bypass their state legislature by placing proposed statutes  or amendments on the ballot.   In the direct initiative process, qualified proposals  go directly on the ballot. In the indirect process, the proposal must be approved by legislature first.

A referendum is a measure that appears on the ballot.  Legislatures are often required to refer certain measures (e.g. changes to the state constitution, bond measures or tax changes) to the ballot for voter approval. The legislative referendum is a measure prepared by the legislature for the voters for their approval, and the popular referendum is a measure that appears on the ballot as a result of a voter petition drive. The popular referendum is similar to the initiative in that both are triggered by petitions.

Recall is a procedure that allows citizens to remove and replace a public official before the end of a term of office.


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