Grassroots and Media
Sky-high public support for initiative and referendum promises numerous opportunities to protect and expand the process. Consequently, Citizens in Charge Foundation is building a state-by-state grassroots network across the country, which educates voters on attempts to restrict their First Amendment rights and mobilizes the reservoir of public opposition against these restrictions.
Citizens in Charge Foundation empowers grassroots leaders through our Citizen State Coordinator Program. These volunteer coordinators make a difference by engaging in activities at the local and state level to protect and defend the ballot initiative process. Our team of Citizen State Coordinators mobilizes “boots-on-the-ground” activists, meets and works with elected officials and opinion leaders, and hosts educational events.
To rapidly build coalitions, Citizens in Charge Foundation provides small start-up grants to organizations in the 24 states that have statewide initiative and referendum rights. These grants allow state organizations to set up a website, host a town hall event and/or other outreach and capacity-building activities.
CitizensInCharge.org serves as the meeting place for the initiative rights movement. The website provides activists with information about the history and nuances of each state’s process. It also helps our Citizen State Coordinators organize supporters in their state. Each state page contains updates from the coordinator, the latest state-specific news, requirements for petition drives, and an interactive multimedia section.
In addition to providing valuable information to our activists, the website serves as a resource for the media – both new and old. The Citizen Blog features updates from our team in the field, the latest national I&R news, and commentary from our staff on various voter rights issues from a trans-partisan point of view.
In 2007, Citizens in Charge Foundation launched Ballotpedia.org, a wiki-based website addressing all things ballot-related. We are currently preparing to launch Ballotpodium.com, a platform that will allow initiative proponents and opponents alike to debate before a broader audience. For every initiative on the ballot each election cycle, Ballotpodium will provide a one-stop shop for voters interested in debating the issues or just learning more about the propositions on the ballot in their state.
BallotBoxNews.com was launched this past spring, and has already received rave reviews from journalists who follow initiatives. This spin-off newswire is updated multiple times a day and serves as an unbiased clearinghouse for initiative, referendum and recall developments nationwide. Starting this fall, Citizens in Charge Foundation will produce a comprehensive Post-Election Report on ballot measures and the reforms endorsed by voters.
While the online community is of growing importance, personal, public engagement is vital to growing a grassroots movement. Citizens in Charge Foundation has held and co-sponsored several events, working with organizations spanning the political spectrum. From forums at the National Press Club to speaking engagements to monthly “Citizens on Tap” happy hours, we have engaged numerous political groups including Americans for Tax Reform, the American Civil Liberties Union, FairVote, Young Americans for Liberty, Common Cause, the Leadership Institute, U.S. PIRG, the Center for Competitive Politics, the National Taxpayer’s Union and the Transpartisan Alliance.