Direct Democracy in the United States : Petitioners as a Reflection of Society book cover
1st Edition

Direct Democracy in the United States
Petitioners as a Reflection of Society

ISBN 9781138886575
Published May 21, 2015 by Routledge
256 Pages

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Book Description

The increased use of direct democracy measures across the United States has brought attention to the individual petitioner however their motivations and goals continue to be an enigma.

Drawing on behavioral, historical and legal analysis to provide a more concrete depiction of these individuals, expert contributors examine the true personalities, motivations and expectations, successes and failures of petitioners in the direct democracy process and how they culminate in policy formation across the United States. Six typologies; the zealot, the victim, the amateur, the lawyer, the professional, and the politician are identified and later applied to four key policy areas, taxation, health, the environment and education.

A lucid contribution to the existing literature on direct democracy and an excellent resource for studying how petitioners are able to influence their communities beyond the ballot box.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The State of Petitioners, by Shauna Reilly and Ryan M. Yonk Chapter 2: Success From Amateur to Zealot: A Typology of Initiative Activists, by Mathew Manweller Chapter 3: Governors at the Bully Ballot Box, by Thomas Lubbock Chapter 4: Petitioners and Policy Makers: State Legislator Perceptions of Petitioners and Direct Democracy, by Richard N. Engstrom and Jeff R. DeWitt Chapter 5: Petitioners as a Reflection of their Community, by Shauna Reilly and Whitney McIntyre Miller Chapter 6: Petitioners and Quality of Life in their Community, by Shauna Reilly and Ryan Yonk Chapter 7: Education and Amateurs: Changes to Education Finance by Petitioners, by Damon Cann and Teena Wilhelm Chapter 8: Petitioners in Health Care Policy: Radicals or Partisans?, by Roberta Q. Hertzberg Chapter 9: The Realm of the Zealot: Tax Policy, by Ryan Yonk, Terrie Bechdel and Kayla Dawn Harris Chapter 10: Green Energy Democracy: A Venue for Zealots and Professionals, by Randy Simmons, Kristen Dawson and Kayla Dawn Harris, Chapter 11: Conclusion and Policy Potential, by Shauna Reilly and Ryan Yonk

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Shauna Reilly is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science and Criminal Justice Department at Northern Kentucky University. Her main areas of research in the areas of American Politics, Political Behavior, State Politics and Public Opinion focus mainly on direct democracy. She has a book on ballot language entitled Design, Meaning and Choice: Petitioners and Voters’ Influence.

Ryan M. Yonk is an Assistant Professor in Political Science and Criminal Justice at Southern Utah University. His research focuses primarily on Economics, Political Behavior, Environmental Issues and Alternative Energies. Some recent publications include "Trading Places; Effects of voting systems on multi candidate elections" and "Bootleggers, Baptists and Political Entrepreneurs: Key Players in the Rational and Morality play of Regulatory Politics."


"This book is the first to explore the true motivations behind the people who are on the front lines of direct democracy. Without petitioners, direct democracy couldn’t exist and it is exciting to finally get an inside look into their true personalities."

—M. Dane Waters, Chairman, Initiative & Referendum Institute

"The authors of this volume marshal both quantitative and qualitative data to demonstrate the key role that individuals who propose ballot measures play in the policy process. We know that many measures are proposed by "repeat players" in the process, but these works indicate that sometimes motivations for involvement are varied and complex."

—Martha Kropf, University of North Carolina at Charlotte