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Recent Blog Posts

An Appeal to Democratic Reformers: Welcome Uncomfortable Speech, Political Pluralism, and Real Disagreement

In a talk at the Frontiers of Democracy conference in Boston, Ashley Trim calls for greater political inclusiveness within universities and the deliberative democracy community.

Actually, More Public Participation Can Save American Democracy

Jessie Conover responds to recent articles calling for less public participation in our democracy.

Jane Jacobs and Urban Planning’s Lesson for Democracy

Linn Davis makes the case for urban thinker Jane Jacobs as a grandmother of modern public engagement.

Conference Recap: Elevate Engagement 2017

Robin Teater and Linn Davis recap the 2017 Elevate Engagement conference.

What Does a Healthy Democracy Look Like?

HD in the Press

Massachusetts: State lawmakers working to make ballot questions more clear to voters

From WWLP 22 News: BOSTON (WWLP) – State lawmakers are working to make voting easier on election day. Ballot questions can be confusing, sometimes making it unclear what your ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote actually means. State lawmakers have a proposal that could change where your information comes from. More than 50 state lawmakers support a bill
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Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review Named Top 10 Program in Harvard’s 2017 Roy and Lila Ash Award for Public Engagement in Government Competition

For the second time, the Oregon Citizens' Initiative Review has been named a Top 10 Innovations in American Government recipient by Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

A Manageable Improvement to the State Initiative Process?

From Fox & Hounds: Californians have a love-hate relationship with the Initiative process. Recent surveys by PPIC show that two-thirds of voters are satisfied with the initiative process even though a majority think that special interests have too much control and an even larger majority think the wording of initiatives is “often too complicated and
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Citizens’ statement on Massachusetts marijuana ballot question was effective, but little known

From MassLive: Massachusetts voters who read an independently produced statement about the marijuana legalization ballot question felt better informed about the issue and more confident in their knowledge. But it is likely that few residents were even aware of the so-called “Citizens’ Statement.” Organizers of the Citizens Initiative Review pilot project, which produced the statement,
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Making Direct Democracy Truly Democratic

Ashley Trim of the Davenport Institute at Pepperdine University writes about the challenges of the California initiative system and the unique democratic power of the Citizens Initiative Review. Via People2Power.

“Citizens’ Initiative Review” Demonstrates Potential for Public Engagement in Initiative Process

Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership PRESS RELEASE What: For the first time in state history, the Citizens’ Initiative Review Demonstration will bring together eligible California voters for a deliberative process to demonstrate how citizen participation can make the California Initiative more transparent, more understandable, and more independent of campaign spending. When: March
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