Citizen initiative review panels debut in Colorado and Arizona

Arizona:

Morrison Institute hosts citizen’s initiative review to help inform Arizona voters
By Emi Kamezaki, September 21, 2014

ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy partnered with Healthy Democracy to host Arizona’s inaugural citizens’ initiative review, which discussed pension reform among a small group of residents Sept. 18-21.

Arizonans will vote on Proposition 487, which favors a shift from public direct benefit systems, to private defined benefit pension systems, at the Nov. 4 election. The CIR brought together 20 randomly selected Phoenix voters of various backgrounds to learn about the different sides of the issue and create an unbiased resource for voters.

Colorado:

First Citizens’ Initiative Review delivers guidance for voters
By Clarissa Arellano, September 30, 2014

The Colorado initiative process is a powerful one that allows voters to be their own lawmakers but also puts voter education at a premium for a fair and effective election.

Many voters say they find ballot measures too complicated or confusing, which leads some to skip questions at the ballot box or let their votes be informed by attack ads and sound bites.

Earlier this month, a new voter education resource made its debut in Colorado, delivering to voters a clear, trustworthy information source before heading to the polls. The Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) pilot project assembled a panel of 20 randomly selected and demographically balanced voters Sept. 7-10 to evaluate one statewide November ballot measure, in this case, Proposition 105.

[…]

The Citizens’ Initiative Review has three main advantages that most people don’t have before they vote:

• Adequate time to examine both sides of the issues (over 3 days of public deliberation);

• The opportunity to directly discuss the issue with information directly from the proponents and opponents of the ballot initiative; and

• The ability to call on neutral policy experts to answer questions and provide additional information.

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