What states appear to have an affinity for democratic mechanisms such as the referendum and the initiative?

Expert Answers
mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The development of the initiative and the referendum were ideas that began during the Progressive Era. There was significant concern that the average American was being shut out of the political process. As a result, the initiative and the referendum were developed to encourage the average American to become more involved in the political process.

The initiative allows people to get legislation or proposed constitutional amendments onto the ballot. The referendum allows people to vote on a proposed idea. The binding referendum means that whatever the voters decide will take place. The lawmaking body must follow the wishes of the voters. The advisory referendum gives advice to a lawmaking body but doesn’t bind them to follow the wishes of the voters.

There are many states that allow for both the referendum and the initiative. These states include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The U.S. Virgin Islands also allows for the initiative and the referendum.