Researching Direct Democracy

As it turned out, researching Oregon’s system of direct democracy was a much bigger task than I expected. I decided that the best way to go about my project was to collect data on all of Oregon’s ballot measures – did you know that Oregon has put 861 measures on the ballot since it started using the initiative and referendum in 1902?

As such, my project focuses much more heavily on Oregon’s experience with direct democracy, although understanding New Judicial Federalism is still important, because (as explored in the previous post) that’s what makes a state’s constitution (and hence direct democracy) relevant, especially when considering individual liberties.

That being said, I think that this gives me a great opportunity to collect some data that might help me in the future. I’ve always been interested in studying Oregon’s initiative and referendum, and so having a database of all of Oregon’s ballot measures will probably be useful at some point.

I think there’s a reason that most of the literature on the initiative and referendum has focused on civil rights rather than civil liberties, though – it doesn’t look like there are many measures that really focus too much on civil liberties, either positively or negatively. It’s tough to say, though, because conceptualizing what qualifies as a “liberty” is a pretty subjective, squishy thing.

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