Published August 29th, 2022 at 3:57 PM2 minute read
Missouri is one of 26 states in the country that grants its citizens the power to amend the state’s constitution without the legislature.
It was the initiative process that allowed Missourians to approve riverboat gaming, expand Medicaid and make medical marijuana legal.
This year ballot initiatives for ranked-choice voting and adult-use marijuana sought spots on the ballot, although only the latter was successful. Some activists even hope to end Missouri’s abortion prohibition via ballot initiative in the coming years.
Any Missourian can submit a ballot initiative proposal to the Secretary of State and, if approved, circulate the proposal to acquire the necessary amount of signatures from each congressional district. If the campaign receives the required number of signatures in at least six of the state’s eight congressional districts, the initiative will appear on the statewide ballot for a popular vote.
Several legislative measures that would further restrict the process by upping the necessary number of signatures and percentage of the vote surfaced in Missouri’s 2022 legislative session. While the measures ultimately failed, some folks fear the type of direct democracy allowed by the ballot initiative process will remain under attack by lawmakers.
This month on Flatland, we’re diving into the ballot initiative process. We’ll talk to successful campaigns and failed campaigns to see what works, what doesn’t and why it’s important to many Missourians.
What questions do you have about ballot initiatives? Send them in to inform our reporting.
Cami Koons covers rural affairs for Kansas City PBS in cooperation with Report for America. The work of our Report for America corps members is made possible, in part, through the generous support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Mary Sanchez is senior reporter for Kansas City PBS. Cody Boston is a video producer for Kansas City PBS.