Should NH allow citizens to propose statewide ballot initiatives?

Jul 13, 2016

BY: Citizens Count

New Hampshire law does not allow citizens to propose ballot measures for inclusion on the statewide ballot. The only time citizens can vote directly on a proposed law is if the Legislature places a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot for ratification.

Enabling citizen ballot initiatives in New Hampshire would require an amendment to the state constitution. An attempt to pass such an amendment was defeated in the House in 2011.

Supporters of a citizen ballot initiative argue that voters should have the right to make a direct impact on legislation they care deeply about. They also point out that ballot measures have historically been used to pass laws that are popular with voters but not with politicians, such as marijuana legalization.

Opponents counter that ballot initiatives can be dominated by special interest groups, often based outside the state, who can ‘buy’ elections through aggressive advertising campaigns.

Currently, roughly half of U.S. states allow either ballot initiatives or referendums to be proposed by citizens, without having previously passed the Legislature. These proposed measures must acquire a certain number of verified signatures from registered voters in order to be included on the ballot.

UPDATE: Read our Citizen Voices℠ report and find out where New Hampshire stands on this issue.



Jilletta Jarvis
- Sandown

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 12:13pm

Yes, I believe that people, every day citizens, should be allowed to propose state wide ballot measures. This would truly allow for the voice of the people to be heard.


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