Republicans devise a new scheme to undermine ballot initiatives: report

Republicans devise a new scheme to undermine ballot initiatives: report
Voters wait on line to cast a ballot in Brooklyn, New York. Wikimedia Commons.
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In Ohio, activists are fighting for abortion rights with a measure that will appear on the state's November ballot. Republicans, however, are trying to undermine the initiative by altering the language used — much to the chagrin of Democrats in the Buckeye State.

Reporter Zachary Roth, in an article published by States Newsroom on August 30, emphasizes that Ohio isn't the only state where Republicans are making a concerted effort to weaken ballot measures they don't like.

"In recent weeks," Roth explains, "officials in Missouri — where another abortion-rights measure is at issue — and Idaho also have been accused in lawsuits of seeking to thwart citizen initiatives they oppose by using biased and negative ballot language to describe the issue to voters. Arkansas, last year, saw a similar court fight after a state board rejected a proposed ballot measure that had gained the required number of signatures, claiming the ballot language didn't explain the issue in enough detail."

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Roth adds, "Direct democracy advocates see these language disputes as another tactic in the larger war on ballot initiatives playing out across the country…. Even if misleading ballot language ultimately gets thrown out by the courts, advocates say, these fights can raise the costs of bringing initiatives by requiring supporters to engage in lengthy litigation. And in some states, signature-gathering can't start until ballot language is approved — meaning delays caused by fights over language can eat into the limited timeframe that organizers have to get the necessary signatures."

READ MORE: 'As biased as possible': Ohio Republicans attempting to 'rig' November ballot proposals

States Newsroom's full report is available at this link.

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