On Thursday, October 15th at 6pm ET, join the Institute of Politics and Harvard Votes Challenge for a conversation on the power of ballot initiatives. This November, voters in 32 states will decide 120 statewide ballot measures that will impact policy surrounding elections, taxes, labor, and criminal justice reform. Ballot measures provide a unique form of direct democracy, allowing citizens to put forth an idea for a statutory or constitutional change and gather signatures to place it on the ballot.
With less than a month left to cast ballots in this election, we welcome Angel Sanchez and Jesse Mermell to share their first-hand experience with ballot initiatives and to discuss the power of direct democracy.
In 2018, Florida voters in a bipartisan moment approved an amendment to the state's constitution that restored voting rights to as many as 1.4 million residents who'd been barred from voting because they had a prior felony conviction. Sanchez was sentenced to 30 years in prison when he was 16 years old. Today he is a law graduate from the University of Miami and works at the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, advocating to restore ex-felons voting rights in Florida.
This fall, Massachusetts voters will consider a measure to enact ranked-choice voting, allowing voters to rank candidates in order of their preferences. Mermell, a former 4th Congressional District candidate, was narrowly defeated in the Democratic primary, which saw the top two candidates take less than 23 percent of the vote each and a winner declared without a majority.