Leaders from the U.H.P.P. and other advocacy groups, such as Voices for Utah Children and the A.A.R.P., had wondered aloud for years if they should organize around ballot initiatives. “Utah is not a ballot-initiative state,” Matt Slonaker, the executive director of the U.H.P.P., said. “It’s a state where you don’t want to upset the balance. You elect your leaders, and they do the work for you. Your leaders are members of the community and probably go to church with you, too.” The last time Utah voters approved a ballot initiative was more than a decade ago, in 2007.
In 2017, Slonaker helped to convene dozens of groups dedicated to gathering signatures and campaigning for what became Proposition 3. A national nonprofit known as the Fairness Project provided guidance, data modelling, and financial backing. “Ballot initiatives are probably the most undervalued investments in progressive politics,” Jonathan Schleifer, the executive director of the organization, said. The Fairness Project has supported successful ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington State, in 2016, and to expand Medicaid in Maine, in 2017. The group is also backing the current efforts to raise the minimum wage in Arkansas and Missouri, to expand Medicaid in Idaho and Nebraska, and to reauthorize expansion in Montana.
Read the full story here.