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Bypassing the Representational Filter? Minority Rights Policies under Direct Democracy Institutions in the U.S. States

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 January 2021

Daniel C. Lewis*
Affiliation:
University of New Orleans, LA, USA
*Corresponding
Daniel C. Lewis, Department of Political Science, University of New Orleans, 2000 Lakeshore Dr., New Orleans, LA 70122, USA Email: dclewis1@uno.edu

Abstract

One common critique of direct democracy posits that minority rights are endangered by institutions like ballot initiatives and referenda. Empirical research testing this claim, however, has produced conflicting results that leave the question of direct democracy's effect on minority rights open to debate. This study extends previous research by providing a more direct test of this criticism—it compares anti-minority policy proposals from direct democracy states to similar proposals from states without direct democracy institutions. The author examines both ballot proposals and traditional legislative bills to account for both the direct and indirect effects of direct democracy. Analyzing anti-minority proposals from all 50 states from 1995 to 2004 shows that direct democracy states are more likely to pass these proposals than states without direct democracy institutions.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s) 2011

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