State of Elections

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Tag: Initiative 77

Hitting Pause on Ballot Initiatives: How State Legislatures Can Ensure Good Citizen Lawmaking While Still Respecting Popular Will

By: Reeana Keenen

In my last post, I discussed the merits and drawbacks of ballot initiatives as a form of direct democracy. The main contention with ballot initiatives is whether, in practice, they reflect popular will. In D.C. this past summer, the D.C. Council cited this concern when they decided to overturn Initiative 77, which had been approved by a 12 percent margin of voters in the same election that allowed many of those same Council members to secure their Council seats. The Council claimed the low turnout in the primary election on which the ballot measure appeared was so low it could not reflect the true will of the people. The Council further claimed that Initiative 77 passed with too narrow a margin to allow it to stand.

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The Will of the People—Who Gets to Decide? Overturning Initiative 77 in D.C.

By: Reeana Keenen

While working in D.C. this summer, I came across flyers on restaurant windows imploring D.C. voters to “Save Our Tips! Vote No on Initiative 77.” Later this summer when D.C. voters passed the Initiative 77 ballot measure, I heard people exclaim that D.C. had voted to eliminate tips for restaurant and other tipped workers. In fact, though, voters approved a ballot measure to increase the minimum wage progressively for tipped workers, while leaving in place the possibility of tips as a source of income. The measure passed with 56% of the votes.

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