Election 2020: The Power of Ballot Initiatives

Thursday, October 15, 2020 - 6:00pm10/15/2020 6:00pm 10/15/2020 6:00pm Election 2020: The Power of Ballot Initiatives

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.

RSVP to join the conversation in the virtual JFK Jr. Forum.

The Harvard Votes Challenge is a nonpartisan initiative that strives to build a civic culture at Harvard University by increasing voter registration and participation among students, staff, and faculty. In Fall 2018, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and Institute of Politics launched the Harvard Votes Challenge to promote student voter registration and turnout across Harvard. Make a plan to vote at voteschallenge.harvard.edu.

America/New_York public

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.

RSVP to join the conversation in the virtual JFK Jr. Forum.

The Harvard Votes Challenge is a nonpartisan initiative that strives to build a civic culture at Harvard University by increasing voter registration and participation among students, staff, and faculty. In Fall 2018, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and Institute of Politics launched the Harvard Votes Challenge to promote student voter registration and turnout across Harvard. Make a plan to vote at voteschallenge.harvard.edu.

Center for Public Leadership