A progressive group announced on Thursday that it was launching a $5 million campaign to push back against what it called legislative efforts to "make ballot measures inaccessible across the country."
The Fairness Project, which has previously used ballot measures on campaigns aimed at expanding Medicaid, adding more paid time off for workers and raising workers’ pay, is partnering with a handful of organizations on the initiative, called the Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign. They plan to incorporate advocacy, litigation and ballot measure efforts themselves to combat measure restriction legislation.
“Where we need to bring litigation, we will litigate. Where we can stop bad laws from being passed, we will run aggressive communications and lobbying campaigns to stop anti-democratic bills. And where the legislature refers suppressive measures to the ballot, we will fight to win those ballot campaigns,” executive director of the Fairness Project, Kelly Hall, said in a statement.
The organization alleges that so far this year, 20 pieces of legislation have passed in states to restrict ballot measures, and 87 have been introduced. The Fairness Project claimed that legislatures in states including Arkansas and South Dakota are trying to amend what percentage of voters are needed to pass a ballot measure under majority rule laws.
Among the groups partnering with the Fairness Project include the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, Democracy Docket, Mississippi NAACP and the South Dakota Education Association.
“The people of Mississippi are unfortunately all too familiar with efforts to exclude voters from the democratic process. The loss of our citizen-initiated ballot measure process earlier this year was yet another blow to voting rights in our state,” Corey Cortez Wiggins, executive director of the Mississippi State Conference NAACP, said in a statement. “The Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign is fighting to protect this vital tool for improving the lives of millions.”