First Advisor

Richard Clucas

Term of Graduation


Date of Publication

Winter 3-16-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Political Science


Political Science




Voting, Referendum, Oregon -- Politics and government, Voting research



Physical Description

1 online resource (iv, 85 pages)


Voters are getting information from more and more sources. Along with this proliferation of sources has come an increasing distrust of traditional mass media. This has created a challenge for voters who seek reliable information when making decisions in the voting booth; including on ballot initiatives. Because voters tend to find ballot initiatives confusing and not easily informed by traditional party cues, the Citizen's Initiative Review (CIR) and the non-partisan, fact-based recommendations they produce have now spread into multiple states. This thesis seeks to gauge whether the CIR is effective at achieving the goals of increasing voter knowledge and encouraging thoughtful voting decisions; two challenges posed by ballot initiatives. I evaluate the available literature on how voters make decisions in general and about ballot initiatives specifically and then review data from five studies conducted in states with a CIR to determine whether the CIR has met these goals. Where other reports have evaluated findings from individual studies or states, my report takes a comprehensive view of the available data and compares it to what traditional political science literature has to say about voter behavior related to ballot initiatives. On balance, I find that voters see the CIR as providing useful and informative recommendations that have legitimate positive impacts on how they deliberate and vote on ballot initiatives.


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