Referendum in United States
- 1 Referendum in United States
- 1.1 Referendum Definition
- 1.2 Referendum in the International Business Landscape
- 1.3 Types of Referendums
- 1.4 Referendums and Initiatives
- 1.5 Referendum in Foreign Legal Encyclopedias
- 1.6 Referendum
- 1.7 Concept of Referendum in Political Science
- 1.8 Initiative and Referendum in the U.S. Legal History
- 1.9 Resources
In international law
A note addressed by an ambassador to his government, submitting to its consideration propositions made to him touching an object over which he has no sufficient power, and is without instructions. When such a proposition is made to an ambassador, he accepts it ad referendum; that is, under the condition that it ahall, be acted upon by his government, to which it is referred.
In Political Economy
A system of legislation, whereby proposed laws are submitted to the popular vote. (1)
Referendum in the International Business Landscape
Definition of Referendum in the context of U.S. international business and public trade policy: The procedure by which citizens vote on a piece of legislation.
Types of Referendums
Certain bills are presented to voters at the polls. This process is called a referendum . A referendum takes place only at the state level. There are different kinds of referendums.
After a law is passed by the state legislature, citizens may use a petition to protest the law. Someone who objects to the law may circulate a petition for others to sign. If enough people sign the petition, a petition referendum will be placed on the ballot. Voters can vote for or against the law at the polls. If enough votes are cast against the law, the law will be rejected.
In some states the legislature may refer a proposed law to the public for acceptance or rejection. This is called an optional referendum . In this case, the legislature is not forced by law to refer the law to the voters, but it does so willingly. Usually the issues referred to the public are ones that have caused a great deal of controversy.
When state laws require that certain issues be sent to the voters for their approval or rejection, a compulsory referendum is used. For example, a state may use a compulsory referendum to get voter approval to change the state constitution. Delaware is the only state that may change its constitution without public approval.
United States Constitution
According to the Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, among the political reforms introduced during the Progressive era was the referendum, by which acts of the legislature are referred to the people for their approval or rejection at an election. Referenda may be initiated by the legislature itself or by petition of the people.
Referendums and Initiatives
When Americans go to the polls, they do more than select officials to represent them. They also vote on proposals that will affect numerous aspects of their everyday lives. For example, when California voters went to the polls during the 1988 presidential election, they were confronted with many state issues, ranging from water conservation and education to automobile insurance and food programs for the needy.
How do these various proposals get on the ballot in the first place? It all depends on whether they are referendums or initiatives.
A referendum is the practice of submitting a measure passed or proposed by a legislative body to a popular vote. Sometimes a state legislature is required by law to refer pending legislation to the voters. Certain subjects may trigger this requirement, such as those involving large expenditures of state funds for roads or schools. In some states, the legislatures are permitted to voluntarily submit laws to the voters for approval.
In 24 states, citizens can also pass judgment on laws through a petition referendumn — even though the state legislature opposes it. Under this procedure, if voters opposing a law can collect a specified percentage of voter signatures on a petition, the issue is put on the ballot at the next election.
In contrast to referendums, which allow voters to judge legislative measures, initiatives permit voters to propose laws themselves. Twenty-three states use initiative procedures. These authorize any registered voter to draft a law, but he or she must persuade a certain percentage of other registered voters (usually five to 15 percent of the voting population) to support it by signing a petition. In some states, an initiative is placed directly on the ballot, bypassing the state legislature altogether. In other states, the proposed law is sent to the legislature which may enact it or reject it. If the legislature does not act upon the measure within a specified time, however, the issue will be put on the ballot automatically. (2)
Referendum in Foreign Legal Encyclopedias
For starting research in the law of a foreign country:
|Referendum||Referendum in the World Legal Encyclopedia.|
|Referendum||Referendum in the European Legal Encyclopedia.|
|Referendum||Referendum in the Asian Legal Encyclopedia.|
|Referendum/referendum/||Referendum in the UK Legal Encyclopedia.|
|Referendum||Referendum in the Australian Legal Encyclopedia.|
A description about Referendum is available here: A measure referred to voters by a state legislature proposing that specific legislation be approved or rejected is a referendum. The terms referendum, proposition and ballot initiative frequently are used interchangeably.
Concept of Referendum in Political Science
The following is a very basic definition of Referendum in relation to the election system and the U.S Congress: Having voters vote on a law proposed by popular demand or by a legislative body
Initiative and Referendum in the U.S. Legal History
A procedure that allows citizens to propose legislation through petitions, it was passed by numerous states at the turn of the century but rarely used until the 1970s.
Notes and References
- This definition of Referendum is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary
- “An outline of American government” (1980), by Richard C. Schroeder
Notes and References
- Information about Referendum in the Gale Encyclopedia of American Law.