Ballot Initiative Strategy Center

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The Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, or BISC, based in Washington, DC, advocates for progressive ballot measures and against conservative ballot measures. There are two BISC organizations, the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, Inc., a 501(c)(4) and the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center Foundation, a 501(c)(3).

How BISC is funded

In 2005, the BISC Foundation reported grants of $10,507 from NARAL and $153,007 from the Open Society Institute, which is an organization supported by George Soros.[1] In 2004, the BISC Foundation reported grants from NARAL of $17,165 and from the Open Society Institute of $154,665.[2]. The 2002 and 2003 tax returns of the BISC Foundation do not provide any donor information.[3],[4]

BISC, Inc. elected not to disclose its donors on its federal income tax returns in 2005 and 2004.[5]

The New Progressive Coalition announced in 2007 that it had designated BISC as a member of its "Victory in 2008 and Beyond" progressive "mutual fund".[6] BISC is also listed as "a partner" of the liberal organization, "America Votes", which describes BISC as enabling "a wide range of ideologically progressive groups" to "use the [initiative] process more effectively".[7]

BISC and petition blocking

Reporter Lisa Baker writes that at an AFL-CIO meeting in Oregon in 2001[8]:

At the event, BISC presenter Kelly Evans encouraged unions to run “signature blocking” campaigns—organized efforts to urge citizens not to sign ballot petitions that would harm progressive interests. She said such efforts "help build and mobilize your base," and "force your opposition to spend more money or volunteer hours gathering signatures."

Recently, Paul Jacob released one of his Common Sense articles accusing BISC of blocking initiatives using underhanded tactics.[9]

See petition blocking.

Donations to ballot measures

  • In 2006, BISC donated a total of $15,000 to two ballot measures that appeared on the November general election ballot in Washington.[11],[12]
  • In 2000, BISC donated $29,500 to an unsuccessful campaign to defeat California Proposition 21. Proposition 21, a measure to increase "punishment for gang-related felonies, home-invasion robbery, carjacking, witness intimidation and drive-by shootings", passed with 62% of the vote.[13]

BISC attacks on conservative ballot initiatives

Kristina Wilfore, executive director of BISC, said at a "Take Back America" conference held March 17-29, 2008 in Washington, D.C., that "right-wing leaders and activists are desperate, and their leaders and activists are trying to use ballot gimmicking to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat".[14]

Ward Connerly, others

Wilfore also said that Ward Connerly is "no more than a pawn of the right-wing agenda", and promised to unveil a new website, Stop Ballot Fraud, that would attack Connerly, Howard Rich, Patrick Byrne and Rick Berman. Wilfore said that they are "not good people".

External links


  6. New Progressive Coalition entry on BISC
  7. America votes entry on BISC
  9. Blocking and Tackling Democracy, Common Sense, Nov. 28, 2007
  10. Idaho Campaign Finance Disclosure Report
  11. Cit for Community Protection monetary contributions
  12. Washingtonians for Clean Energy monetary contributions
  13. Details of contributors to No on Prop 21
  14. The Washington Times, Will ballot initiatives help the GOP survive in November? March 17, 2008