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From dKosopedia

A referendum, is a measure proposed by a legislative body upon which voters can decide, usually because a state constitution requires voter approval for certain kinds of matters, but occassionally, such as in referenda concerning a state flag or some such, to involve the people in a symbolic decision. Some states also allow voters to put any measure adopted by the legislature (or any of a broad class of measures adopted by the legislature) to a vote of the people. Referenda are one of the most common forms of so-called "Direct Democracy."

Every state but Delaware requires state constitutional amendments proposed by the legislature to be ratified in a referendum. Many local governments and a few state governments (e.g. Colorado) must pass referenda to borrow money or increase tax rates.

Referenda have the advantage of being drafted in a forum where problems with the proposed language can be debated and amended deliberatively before being put to the people for a vote, rather than being the all or nothing affairs the result from the Initiative process.

The United States is one of the a handful of major democracies (Israel,India, Japan, and the Netherlands are the others), which have never had a national referendum. About half of all national initiatives and referendums in world history (about 400 out of 800) have taken place in Switzerland. National referenda usually involve a change in the sovereignty of a nation (such as a merger or division) or a major change in its form of government.

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This page was last modified 01:33, 23 February 2007 by dKosopedia user Yellowdawg. Based on work by Chad Lupkes and Andrew Oh-Willeke and dKosopedia user(s) Apascover and Drew. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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