Direct Democracy


Direct Democracy was one of the significant issues of the 1912 campaign, and of the Progressive era in general.  At this time, state legislators elected the members of the United States Senate.  Direct Democracy included the idea that voters should choose U.S. Senators in direct elections.

Direct Democracy also was the idea that voters should decide on legislation and other matters without the intervention of legislative bodies.

The Initiative is one example of direct democracy. With the initiative, a group of voters, once obtaining a prescribed number of signatures on a petition, can place a piece of legislation on the ballot.

The Referendum occurs when the voters decide to enact or deny a piece of legislation placed on the ballot.

The Recall occurs when a group of voters obtains a prescribed number of signatures on a petition to have voters decide at an election whether or not to force an incumbent to leave office.  Judicial recall allows voters to remove judges from the bench.