Chart of 2013 initiative activity

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link=Ballot Measure Scorecard, 2013

In total, there are 26 states with some form of direct democracy. This year, for all measures on the ballot, a total of two initiative and referendum states had measures up for a public vote. However, before those measures are placed on the ballot, they must be filed and proposed to their state election officials before they can circulate for signatures.

This means that some initiative efforts can fail in numerous ways - unconstitutional ballot text, shortage of valid signatures, missed deadlines, etc. For those reasons, not all measures filed make the ballot; in fact, many fail for one reason or another.

In 2013, a grand total of 133 initiatives were filed with intent to circulate for signature gathering. Of those 133 initiatives, only 3 made it on the ballot. In the findings below, we took a deeper look at the filed initiatives, those that were certified, and a breakdown of measures that were proposed in each state. This analysis does not include legislative proposals or referrals to the ballot.

By the numbers

To accurately gauge how 2013 ballots compared to those in other years, we used 2011 and 2009 as benchmarks, as these were also odd-numbered years; ballots in odd-numbered years tend to feature fewer measures than those in even-numbered years. In 2011, 137 initiatives were filed. Though 2013 saw only four less initiatives filed than 2011 - 133 compared to 137 - certified initiatives were particularly sparse on the ballot. In 2011, five of the 26 states - Colorado, Maine, Mississippi, Ohio and Washington - had initiatives appear on the ballot. Three states - Maine, Ohio and Washington - had a total of eight initiatives on the ballot in 2009. In 2013, only two states - Colorado and Washington - featured initiatives, with those in Washington being Initiatives to the Legislature. In 2011, 12 out of 137 filed initiatives were certified for the ballot, making the certification rate approximately nine percent. In 2013, only 3 out of 133 filed initiatives were certified, yielding a certification rate of just over two percent.

No signatures submitted

In 2013, neither Washington nor Ohio saw any petition signatures submitted by the filing deadlines in early July. There is no limit on how long petitions may be circulated in Ohio. Therefore, supporters of citizen-initiated amendments that were circulated for the 2013 ballot can continue collecting signatures in an effort to put the measures before voters in 2014.

However, this is not the case in Washington, meaning that all 85 initiatives filed with the Secretary of State are dead in the water. This is surprising, given that Washington ballots have not been void of Initiatives to the People since 1989. In 2012, a total of 79 initiatives to the people were filed with the Secretary of State, though only two were ultimately certified for the ballot. A wide variety of topics were addressed across the 85 potential 2013 measures, including education, government fraud, the death penalty and taxpayer protection. All of the initiatives needed at least 246,372 valid signatures to appear on the ballot. The two Initiatives to the Legislature that were on the Washington 2013 ballot went through a different process than that of Initiatives to the People. First an Initiative to the Legislature must be certified. Once that occurs, the measure is sent to the legislature. If nothing is done there, then the measure goes to a vote of the people.


See also: Ballot initiatives filed for the 2013 ballot
# of initiatives proposed # initiatives certified in 2013  % certified
Totals: 133 3 .023%

Outcome - certified initiatives

NOTE: The chart below specifically details the number of proposed initiatives per state and the number/percentage of successfully certified initiatives for 2013 ballots.


     Highest percent certified for 2013

I&R State # of initiatives proposed # initiatives certified in 2013  % certified
Colorado 32 1 .031%
Maine 3 0 0%
Mississippi 5 0 0%
Ohio 8 0 0%
Washington 85 2 .024%

See also