History of direct democracy in Iowa

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In 1904, direct democracy advocates began making headway in Iowa with an endorsement from the Prohibitionist Party, followed in 1906 by the support of the Socialists and Populists and, in 1910, that of the Democrats. An amendment by Republican State Representative David E. Kulp calling for statewide I&R reached the floor of the lower house of the state legislature in 1911, but it was defeated 58 to 42.


In the election campaign of 1912, both the Republican Party and its offspring, the Progressive Party, endorsed I&R. In 1913 the legislature voted overwhelmingly in favor of I&R: approval was nearly unanimous in the senate, and there were only 11 negative votes in the house. But ratification by the voters had to wait because the state constitution specified that any amendments had to be cleared by the legislature twice, in two successive sessions with an election between them. In 1915 the legislature voted against I&R, and the proposed amendment never reached the voters.

External links


This article is significantly based on an article[1] published by the Initiative & Referendum Institute, and is used with their permission. Their article, in turn, relies on research in David Schmidt's book, Citizen Lawmakers: The Ballot Initiative Revolution.[2]


  1. History of Iowa's brush with direct democracy
  2. Citizen Lawmakers: The Ballot Initiative Revolution Temple University Press, 352 pp., ISBN-10: 0877229031, October 1991