Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia provide for some form of initiative procedure, allowing the citizens of a state to draft and pass legislation without assistance from their state legislature. From the first statewide referendum placed on the ballot in Oregon in 1904 through 2006, "there have been 2,231 statewide initiatives, with 909 (41%) of these being approved." In several states, such as California and Maine, "the initiative has by general agreement become the principal driver of policy." As these enactments become more prominent vehicles for achieving policy goals, it is important to consider how courts should go about interpreting the products of direct democracy.

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