For the First Time, Progressives Develop National Ballot Initiative Strategy

“For more than two decades,” conservatives “have used ballot initiatives to create wedge issues and whip up excitement among core voters,” while progressives “remained largely on the defensive.”

2006 is different. For the first time, progressives have a coordinated national ballot initiative strategy, focusing on our priorities like the minimum wage, renewable energy, stem cell research, and privacy. (Of course, we’ll also be working to defeat several conservative measures.)

In the coming months, ThinkProgress will focus on ballot initiatives across the country. Here’s a taste:





Minimum Wage IncreaseSeveral states will decide whether to increase their state minimum wage above the federal minimum, which has been stuck at $5.15 an hour since 1997.ArizonaCaliforniaColoradoMissouriMontanaNevadaOklahomaOhioClean Alternative EnergyThe Clean Alternative Energy Initiative would “impose a wellhead tax on oil companies operating in California” to finance $4 billion towards alternative-fuel vehicles and renewable energy and conservation research.CaliforniaStem Cell ResearchThe initiative “would specifically allow any stem cell research permitted under federal law. It also would prohibit human cloning, defined as implanting a cloned embryo in a woman.”MissouriOverturning Abortion BanThe initiative would overturn the near-total abortion ban passed recently by South Dakota’s legislature, which included no exceptions for incest or rape.South DakotaGay Marriage”Most states that will vote on anti-gay marriage measures will see the harshest possible versions of the amendment on the ballot. These strict laws punish many more people than gays and lesbians, outlawing not only gay marriage and civil unions, but all domestic partner benefits.”AlabamaArizonaColoradoIdahoMassachusettsSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeVirginiaWisconsinTABORTABOR, a.k.a. the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights, is an “anti-tax” initiative backed by right-wing activist Grover Norquist. It artificially limits revenue and spending for all public services, no matter how great the need, by restricting revenue growth “to a highly restrictive formula: inflation plus the annual change in population.”MaineOklahomaOhio