New Democracy Maps

Direct Citizen Initiative States

The initiative process is a tool through which citizens can propose statutes or constitutional amendments to be put on the ballot in their state. Often referred to generally as ballot measures, the initiative process can be direct or indirect depending on the state. Direct citizen initiatives are put onto the ballot without involvement from the state legislature if they meet certain qualifications, usually related to signature gathering and subject matter, as well as various deadlines. Indirect citizen initiatives are submitted to the state legislature, which can then approve the measure without it going to the ballot, not adopt the measure, or even submit a competing measure. This map tracks states that have direct citizen initiative processes.
United States Map
Washington New York U.S. Virgin Islands Puerto Rico Guam Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands American Samoa New Hampshire Vermont Virginia Pennsylvania New York Maine West Virginia Ohio Kentucky Indiana Michigan Illinois Wisconsin North Carolina South Carolina Tennessee Georgia Florida Mississippi Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Iowa Minnesota Oklahoma Kansas Nebraska South Dakota North Dakota Texas 33 Colorado Wyoming Montana Idaho Arizona Utah Nevada Oregon California Hawaii Alaska Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey Delaware Maryland Washington D.C. New Hampshire Vermont
  • State has a direct citizen initiative process (19 states)
  • State does not have a direct citizen initiative process (31 states + D.C.)
Recommended citation: Movement Advancement Project. "Direct Citizen Initiative States." Accessed 05/26/2024.

Breakdown by Population

*Note: These percentages reflect the voting-eligible population, as reported by the United States Election Project.


37 % of the population lives in states that have a direct citizen initiative process


63 % of the population lives in states that do not have a direct citizen initiative process

Data current as of 05/20/2024
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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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