Stephen Wolf+ Your Authors @PoliticsWolf @DKElections staff writer covering voting rights, gerrymandering, maps, & poli sci. Get the free Voting Rights Roundup weekly newsletter dkel.ec/votingr Jul. 23, 2019 3 min read + Your Authors

NEW: Voters across the U.S. have used ballot initiatives to enact progressive policies, fight gerrymandering, & protect voting rights. In state after state, the GOP has responded by undermining those new laws & making the initiative process itself harder  https://www.dailykos.com/story/2019/7/23/1862658/-When-progressives-pass-ballot-measures-Republicans-try-to-repeal-them-and-make-them-impossible 

In just the last few years, Republicans have attacked voter-initiated laws &/or tried to restrict the initiative process in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, & Utah after voters passed progressive or pro-democracy policies

In Florida, voters passed a 2018 ballot initiative to restore voting rights for up to 1.4 million citizens who've served their felony sentences. The GOP responded by passing a poll tax & making the initiative process itself more difficult  https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/7/23/1862658/-When-progressives-pass-ballot-measures-Republicans-try-to-repeal-them-and-make-them-impossible 

In Arizona, the GOP passed restrictions on the ballot initiative process after voters raised the minimum wage & blocked expanded school vouchers. The GOP has also long fought to undermine AZ's independent redistricting commission created by an initiative  https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/7/23/1862658/-When-progressives-pass-ballot-measures-Republicans-try-to-repeal-them-and-make-them-impossible 

Arkansas voters are trying to pass redistricting reform in 2020, so the GOP is running a bogus competing initiative. The GOP also put a constitutional amendment on 2020 ballot that would make progressive initiatives much harder but not conservative ones  https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/7/23/1862658/-When-progressives-pass-ballot-measures-Republicans-try-to-repeal-them-and-make-them-impossible 

Idaho voters expanded Medicaid in 2018, & the GOP quickly undermined it by imposing draconian work requirements. Legislators also passed bills trying to restrict future initiatives, but the governor vetoed them to avoid a near-certain lawsuit  https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/7/23/1862658/-When-progressives-pass-ballot-measures-Republicans-try-to-repeal-them-and-make-them-impossible 

Maine voters passed an initiative to expand Medicaid, & GOP Gov. Paul LePage vowed to go to jail before agreeing to implement it. LePage lost a lawsuit over the issue, and Dem Gov. Janet Mills quickly implemented expansion after her 2018 victory  https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/7/23/1862658/-When-progressives-pass-ballot-measures-Republicans-try-to-repeal-them-and-make-them-impossible 

Maine Republicans (& a few Dem defectors) also repealed a 2016 voter-approved law establishing instant-runoff voting, but voters vetoed that repeal in 2018, leading to its use last year. The GOP still rejects the legitimacy of the electoral reform  https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/7/23/1862658/-When-progressives-pass-ballot-measures-Republicans-try-to-repeal-them-and-make-them-impossible 

Michigan voters created an independent redistricting commission & passed a voting rights amendment in 2018. In a lame-duck session, the GOP passed restrictions to block future progressive initiatives & undermined the new same-day registration law  https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/7/23/1862658/-When-progressives-pass-ballot-measures-Republicans-try-to-repeal-them-and-make-them-impossible 

In 2012, the Michigan GOP responded to a voter referendum that vetoed their "Emergency Manager" law, which usurped power from local govts, by re-passing the law with a provision blocking a second referendum. This law directly led to the #FlintWaterCrisis  https://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/1/26/1474838/-Emergency-managers-and-gerrymandering-How-Republican-attacks-on-democracy-led-to-Flint-water-crisis 

Missouri voters passed a 2018 ballot initiative to make legislative redistricting fairer & impose ethics restrictions on legislators. The GOP tried to pass their own amendment gutting redistricting reform & only failed due to an unexpected procedural error  https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/7/23/1862658/-When-progressives-pass-ballot-measures-Republicans-try-to-repeal-them-and-make-them-impossible 

North Dakota Republicans put a constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot to make future ballot initiatives harder after voters passed a 2018 constitutional amendment initiative creating a state ethics commission  https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/7/23/1862658/-When-progressives-pass-ballot-measures-Republicans-try-to-repeal-them-and-make-them-impossible 

In 2016, South Dakota voters passed an initiative creating an independent ethics commission. The GOP responded by literally declaring a "state of emergency" to repeal the law, & they subsequently passed new restrictions on the initiative process itself  https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/7/23/1862658/-When-progressives-pass-ballot-measures-Republicans-try-to-repeal-them-and-make-them-impossible 

In 2018, Utah voters passed Medicaid expansion, medical marijuana, & bipartisan redistricting reform. In response, GOP legislators rolled back much of the first two laws & will likely tamper with the redistricting reform law ahead of 2021  https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/7/23/1862658/-When-progressives-pass-ballot-measures-Republicans-try-to-repeal-them-and-make-them-impossible 

Direct democracy—just like representative democracy—has its drawbacks. However, it has been a vital tool in fighting back against Republican voter suppression & gerrymandering. GOP efforts to roll back direct democracy are thus efforts to undermine representative democracy, too


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