As we move closer to the June and November elections, it may prove useful to get a refresher on the terms that will continue to make headlines. What’s the difference between an initiative and a referendum? What is the process to qualify a measure? Luckily KCET News has done the legwork for you in a column than can be thought of as Elections 101. Here is an excerpt:
“What is a proposition?
"Proposition" is a blanket term for any ballot measure to be voted on by the people. It can be an initiative or a referendum.
What is an initiative?
An initiative is a brand new law or constitutional amendment proposed and voted on by the people. It is a law initiated by the people.
In California, we use the direct initiative process, which means a petition with the required number of signatures automatically qualifies for the ballot. Some states allow only indirect initiatives, in which a measure that receives the necessary signatures moves next to the legislature for further action.
What is a referendum?
A referendum is a vote by the people to approve or reject an existing law.
A referendum can be triggered in one of two ways. First, the legislature can send a proposed bill directly to the people instead of deciding on it themselves. In other words, a referendum occurs when a law is referred to the people. In this case, it is called a legislative referendum. In California and most other states, constitutional amendments automatically trigger a referendum, since they require the direct approval of the people to pass.
Alternately, the people can attempt to repeal a law even after it has been passed by the Legislature. In this case, it is called a popular referendum. Only 24 states allow this type of referendum. California is one of them.”
Read the rest of the article here.
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