“One of the imperative needs of democratic countries is to improve citizens’ capacities to engage intelligently in political life . . . In the years to come . . . older institutions will need to be enhanced by new means for civic education, political participation, information, and deliberation that draw creatively on the array of techniques and technologies available in the twenty-first century.”

                                —Robert Dahl, On Democracy (1998), pp. 187-8.


Civic reformers spurred the Oregon State Legislature to establish a Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) process that draws on the core principles of deliberative democracy. In a nutshell, the Oregon CIR gathers a paid random-sample of the state’s electorate to scrutinize statewide ballot measures. The results of each panel are then published in the official Voters’ Pamphlet, which is distributed to every Oregon household that has one or more registered voters.

The purpose of this research project is to study the CIR to better understand how it, and processes like it, can potentially bridge the high-quality deliberation that occurs in well-structured groups of citizens with the typically less deliberative process of voting in large-scale public elections.

Click here to learn more about the funding sources for this research.

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