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Majority Rules: California's Proposition Process Explained

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Love 'em or hate 'em, ballot propositions are deeply ingrained in California's political system.

In nearly every statewide election, voters wade through a stew of local and statewide measures.

The state's proposition process was adopted over a century ago to empower citizens through a form of direct democracy. Since then, voters have weighed in on more than 1,000 ballot measures, some super complicated, some controversial, and some just plain odd (like Proposition 6 in 1998, prohibiting the slaughter of horses and sale of horse meat for human consumption, which voters approved.

So how do propositions actually make it onto the ballot? What are the different types? And what's the difference between and initiative and referendum? Comic journalist Andy Warner gets down to the nuts and bolts. And check out our accompanying lesson plan.



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