An Advisory Question is a type of ballot measure in which citizens vote on a non-binding question. The largest difference between an advisory vote and any other type of ballot measure is that the outcome of the ballot question will not result in a new, changed or rejected law or constitutional amendment. Rather, the advisory question symbolically makes heard the general opinion of the voting population in regard to the issue at hand.
Advisory questions are most commonly used at the local level, often to voice the opinions of region to higher levels of government. At the state level, while uncommon, advisory questions are generally placed on the ballot by the state legislature to assess public opinion. However, advisory questions can also be placed on the ballot by petition in some regions.
Advisory questions may be confusing to some voters because they can come under a variety of names. For instance, in Wisconsin advisory questions have been called referendums, while in Florida they were once called straw polls. Even more confusing is that advisory questions are not always labeled at all.
Some examples of state level advisory questions:
- Massachusetts Candidate Television and Radio Time Advisory, Question 6 (1990)
- Nevada Day Advisory, Question 4 (1998)
- Florida Federal Budget Advisory Question (2010)
Some examples of local level advisory questions:
- Longview City Red Light Camera Advisory Question (November 2011)
- Wheaton Grand Theatre Public Funding Advisory Question (April 2011)
- Dane County Marijuana Advisory Question (November 2010)
Other types of ballot measures
Other types of ballot measures that appear in multiple states are:
Some related terms: