WHY WE INVESTED
The Healthy Democracy Fund succeeded in institutionalizing an innovative reform in the State of Oregon that offers voters with a new resource for making more informed decisions about ballot measures. We invested in HDF in order to encourage its replication in other ballot-measure states.
In 2012, Healthy Democracy Fund worked with Oregon’s Citizen Initiative Review Commission to convene CIRs on two ballot initiatives and disseminated the results through the state’s official voters’ guide. An independent evaluation found that a majority of Oregon voters were aware of and had read the CIR. Roughly two-thirds of voters who read the statements said they were helpful with more than a quarter describing them as “very helpful.” The evaluators conducted a controlled experiment that found that those who read the CIR statement were more knowledgeable about key issues than those who read other sections of the voters’ guide. They also found that reading the CIR statements increased voters’ confidence in their knowledge.
The Citizen Initiative Review’s impact continues to be recognized, as the program is one of ten programs nominated in 2015 for the Roy and Lila Ash Innovation in Public Engagement in Government Award. This award highlights the most promising solutions to the greatest threats of American democracy.
Additional grants: 2011: Up to $420,000 over three years.