Marijuana, affirmative action, redistricting--When citizens want change legislatures won't enact - they go to the ballot to win change. This course blends an academic review of the ballot initiative process along with the related experience of grassroots leaders. Students will gain an understanding of the initiative process and cutting-edge campaign approaches.
The course will lean upon journals, books, media reports, videos and training materials to provide a 360-degree view of the strategies and the tactics used to win. Students will also engage with a number of international, national and state-based activist leaders and political consultants who will provide supplementary instruction and discussion.
Though students will be exposed to a variety of ballot initiative subjects and examples, the course will focus upon Michigan's Proposal 2 - a Michigan ballot initiative that created an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to end partisan gerrymandering in 2018. Prop 2 will serve as a fulcrum for many of our class discussions and draw upon the examples of several states who passed similar initiatives throughout the United States that year.