Writing:Ballot measure overview articles

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Ballotpedia has three types of overview articles about ballot propositions:

  • One year/one state overview articles like: Ohio 2012 ballot measures. These articles are an overview of the ballot measures in one state in one year.
  • One year/all states overview articles like: 2012 ballot measures. These articles are an overview of all the ballot measures in all states in one year.
  • One topic/all years/all states articles like: Alcohol on the ballot. These articles are an overview of ballot measures in any year and in any state that are related to a particular theme or topic.

One year/one state overviews

Future election

If you are working on a list of ballot measures for a state and year where the election has not yet been held, start by going to State ballot measure websites to find a link to the election authority in that state.

You will sometimes run across a situation where a newspaper talks about a forthcoming or potential ballot initiative that has not been listed on an official government website. This can happen when:

  • A state legislature is debating about and voting on whether to refer a particular question to the ballot. Not until both houses of the state legislature have agreed to do this, and the governor has signed it, will this ballot measure ordinarily appear anywhere on an official election website in that state. It can still worthwhile to start writing an article about it prior to approval.
  • An organization or individual has begun work on a ballot initiative. This can also be worth starting an article about.

Past election

For research source suggestions for past elections, see Writing:Ballot measure research sources.

Information to capture

What you'll want to know about any ballot measure is:

  1. What was it called? Here, you want at a minimum its official ballot proposition name or number.
  2. Did the ballot question have a nickname or a name by which it was popularly known?
  3. What day, month and year was it on the ballot. (Several states hold ballot proposition elections in months other than November).
  4. Type of ballot measure. Was it proposed by the legislature? Proposed through initiative? Or other? If it passes, would it be a new constitutional amendment or a statute?
  5. Subject of the ballot measure. For example: Administration of Government, Taxes or State judiciary.
  6. Description: This is short description. Keep it short while not misstating the purpose or intention of the measure.
  7. Outcome. Was the measure defeated or approved?

For more information on writing guidelines, see Writing:Articles about ballot measures.

Preferred format for chart

For information on state/year charts, see Ballotpedia:WikiProject State Ballot Measures/Charts.

Chart style guide

Main article: Ballotpedia:Visual style guide

Ballot measure charts should be standardized to look like the one in the section just above. Here are some hints for how to do that:

State template

For every state, there is a state template. It is always just the name of the state surrounded on both sides by two curly brackets, or braces, like this:

  • {{alaska}}
  • {{alabama}}
  • {{arkansas}}
  • Etc.

Your one state/one year overview article should include that state's template at the bottom of the page. Here's an example. You apply the template by typing it on the part of the page where you wish it to appear.

Categorizing the article

It's important to put the right category tag at the end of your article. The established categorization procedure for one year/one state ballot measure overview articles is to put them in a category that looks like this:

  • [[Category:Alaska 2008 ballot measures]]
  • [[Category:Connecticut 2002 ballot measures]]
  • [[Category:Massachusetts 1998 ballot measures]]
  • [[Category:California 1914 ballot measures]]
  • Etc.

One year/all states

See also: Ballotpedia:WikiProject State Ballot Measures/Years

These articles are an overview of all the ballot measures in all states in one year. Here are some examples:

The format used in the 2008 ballot measures article is the preferred format. Most of the older articles need to be re-worked or expanded to meet that standard.


The article should be categorized as Category:2008 ballot measures, Category:2007 ballot measures, etc. Those categories, in turn, should be placed (if they aren't already) as subcategories of Category:Ballot measures.

One subject/all years/all states

See also: Ballotpedia:WikiProject State Ballot Measures/Years

All of these articles about ballot measure topics need significant additional work to be useful to readers.

Examples of some of the articles:

One state/all years

See also: Ballotpedia:WikiProject State Ballot Measures/States

Incomplete lists

If you are working on a list of all ballot measures for a year, or all ballot measures for a state, and the list is incomplete, please insert {{Incomplete}}, as displayed above, in the upper right-hand of the article. In order to do that, type:

BallotMeasureFinal badge.png

This page is part of WikiProject State Ballot Measures, a WikiProject including articles about:

To participate: join (or just read up) at the project page

Ballotpedia's Ballot Measures project is managed by Nick Katers.

If you have any questions or comments please e-mail Ryan Byrne.