Referendums and Initiatives in North America

  • Todd Donovan


Americans vote directly on all manner of topics at the sub-national level, including constitutional matters, major fiscal issues, local land use questions, education policy, electoral rules and questions of rights and liberties. Citizen-initiated measures (popular initiatives) are a dominant feature of politics in several American states. However, compared with most of the nations profiled in this volume, Americans have never cast ballots on a federal constitutional matter. Canadians, in contrast, have some limited experience with national referendums. Non-binding national referendums have been conducted on rare occasions, most recently in 1992, when voters rejected a complex constitutional accord that would have granted Quebec the status of a distinct society. At the provincial level, legislatively referred referendums are used occasionally. British Columbia is the only Canadian province with provisions for citizen-initiated referendums (Ruff 1993), although some Canadian municipalities allow a limited form of the popular initiative (Boyer 1992: 27).


State Legislature Direct Democracy Constitutional Amendment Campaign Spending Ballot Initiative 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Todd Donovan 2014

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  • Todd Donovan

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