Course Listings


PPLE 331 Direct Democracy: The Politics and Policy of State Ballot Measures (4)

This course explores the institution of state-level direct democracy, which enables citizens in Oregon and many other states, particularly in the West, to propose and pass laws without involvement by the legislature or governor. Questions to be explored include: whether ballot initiatives promote public policies that better approximate the public interest or whether they tend to advantage special interests and the wealthy; whether the majoritarianism inherent in ballot initiatives tends to harm the rights and interests of minority groups; and whether ballot initiatives promote greater citizen engagement. The course will also investigate why direct legislation flourished in the Western United States while making only limited inroads in much of the rest of the nation and why the reliance on initiatives increased so dramatically in the late twentieth century. In addition, the course examines the role of the courts in the initiative process and considers ways in which the initiative process might be reformed.

  • Prerequisite: PPLE 210
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Ellis

Back to Top