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Regulating Democracy Through Democracy: The Use of Direct Legislation in Election Law Reform

Citation

Publication Date: 
May 27, 2005
Format: 
Journal Article
Bibliography: Nathaniel Persily, Regulating Democracy Through Democracy: The Use of Direct Legislation in Election Law Reform, 28 Southern California Law Review 997 (2005) (with Melissa Cully Anderson).

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The study examines a wealth of election law reforms - term limits (for governor and state legislators), campaign finance reform (contribution limits and public funding), redistricting (pre-Baker v. Carr and creation of commissions), creation and regulation of primaries, and women's suffrage - to figure out whether differences exist between the election law regimes in initiative and non-initiative states and whether these differences (if any) might be attributed to the use of the initiative process. We find that in very few cases - legislative term limits and perhaps redistricting commissions - do initiative states differ noticeably from non-initiative states, and in most initiative states election reforms pass through normal legislative means. However, in some cases,such as with contribution limits, laws passed through the initiative process differ in character from those passed through the legislature.