The Ballot Initiative Strategy Center Works to Advance Progressive Ballot Measures in 2016

May 12, 2016

The Ballot Initiative Strategy Center (BISC) helps national and state partners and funders build cohesive ballot measure strategies. Its innovative research, training and expert strategic assistance helps ensure the best outcomes for ballot initiative campaigns. BISC envisions a future where progressives change the game and use ballot measures as a political and civic engagement tool for victory. Voqal recently supported its work to develop and implement a coordinated plan to place proactive, progressive initiatives on the ballot in California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

BISC convened a group of 35 leaders representing both national and state-based partners who are lending their years of expertise to collaboratively create a roadmap for this work. This led to the creation of a strategic plan that plots out opportunities for these states to move on ballot measures pertaining to economic fairness and democracy reform. Through interviews and a focus on collaboration, BISC has built an effective coalition to continue developing and implementing this plan.

In addition to building strong partnerships, BISC conducted extensive research to ensure this ballot initiative campaign is a success. This included research into the viability of ballot measures around several issue including paid leave, minimum wage, LGBTQ non-discrimination, equal pay and voting rights. It also created four new tax models that will help its partners determine an individual’s likeliness to support tax increases in four scenarios—general tax increases on the wealthy, tax increases to support education and senior services, and those aimed at avoiding program cuts.

BISC’s combination of research and collaboration has the potential to serve as a blueprint for progressive groups across the country. As one of its partners put it, “When you are thinking about moving a ballot measure, there are a lot of different interests. BISC has the ability to be a neutral party; it aims to make sure the research is right, the plan solid and that state partners are supported.” Voqal is a strong supporter of progressive ballot initiatives that advance social equity and is proud to support BISC’s innovative work in this area.