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Research topples Kentucky from its place in the I&R firmament

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March 31, 2010

Ballotpedia's new I&R map excises Kentucky from its previous position as a veto referendum state

LAKE RIDGE, Virginia: Research by Brandon Holmes of the Citizens in Charge Foundation has led to an event described by leading ballot initiative journalist Joe Mathews of Blockbuster Democracy as "the equivalent of learning that Pluto is no longer a planet."[1]

What Holmes learned is that there is no right of statewide veto referendum in Kentucky. I&R specialists, including Ballotpedia, have historically listed Kentucky as one of three states -- the others being Maryland and New Mexico -- that allows just one form of statewide direct democracy, the veto referendum. In this form of direct democracy, voters are able to collect signatures to place on the ballot a piece of legislation recently enacted by the state legislature in their state, where voters can repeal the bill by voting against it.

According to Mathews:

"The Initiative & Referendum Institute at USC, among other direct democracy resources, lists Kentucky as a state with referendum -- the ability of the people to qualify a measure to reverse an act of the legislature. But Brandon Holmes at CIC, in the course of research on a topic related to signature gathering, found no record of it. A state official confirmed as much to me this morning. Kentucky does permit direct democracy--but only at the local level."

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