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State Initiatives are seen throughout every state, some more than others, but every election brings them. However, not every election is equal when it comes to turnout, depending on if it is a presidential or midterm year. Some are given more media attention, some are given minimal attention, if at all. The fundamental question is what role doe’s media play in turnout during elections and does any amount of roll-off occurs during presidential or governor’s elections? Does this poll-off or turnout have to do with media (or lack of) attention, or is there something more going on? Besides looking at the media aspect of covering ballot initiatives, there is also the idea that ballot language can have an impact on how voters vote. In this thesis, I hypothesize that the shorter word count, the more likely the initiative will get a “yes” vote; the better readability an initiative has, than the more likely it is to get a “yes” vote; and a greater amount of roll-off will occur in years with a presidential or governor’s race. By exploring these questions, we can see perhaps a bigger picture of how the media plays a role in the passage of state initiatives and also how what voters see on the ballot affects the passage of state initiatives.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Honors Thesis

Primary Advisor

Nancy A Miller

Primary Advisor's Department

Political Science


Stander Symposium poster


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