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Ballotpedia connects people with politics by changing the way they access the information they need to be informed about federal, state, and local politics. Our content includes neutral, accurate, and verifiable information on government officials and the offices they hold, political issues and public policy, elections, candidates, and the influencers of politics. Ballotpedia currently has over 288,000 encyclopedic articles and offers daily, weekly, and monthly email newsletters on a variety of specialized topics.
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Ballotpedia Insights—One Nation, Two Realities: Dueling Facts in American Democracy

Organizer: Ballotpedia

For this call, we are doing a deep dive into "One Nation, Two Realities: Dueling Facts in American Democracy." With us, we'll have authors Morgan Marietta and David Barker. The topic is something we talk about frequently among the Ballotpedia staff. Employing several years of original survey data and experiments, Marietta and Barker reach a number of enlightening and provocative conclusions: dueling fact perceptions are not so much a product of hyper-partisanship or media propaganda as they are of simple value differences and deepening distrust of authorities.

Location: Webinar

Ballot measures are good democracy — but only if you can understand them

Marginal improvements have been made to help voters understand the questions posed to them on the ballot this November, a new study concludes, but such ballot measures still favor the college-educated — who represent a minority of the U.S. population.

This year voters in eight states will decide the fate of a collective 36 such propositions. In a study released Thursday, Ballotpedia assessed how easy it is to comprehend what each proposal would accomplish, concluding that the difficulty level had decreased compared with the referendums decided in the last off-year election of 2017 — but not by much.

In fact, according to a pair of well-established tests, 21 of the 36 ballot measures cannot be understood by the 40 percent of the voting-age population who never attended college.

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Geoff Pallay

Geoff Pallay works out of his South Carolina home to be closer to his two children, including 5-year-old Cameron.

Meet the reformer: Geoff Pallay, a political encyclopedia wizard

Geoff Pallay is the editor in chief of Ballotpedia, a nonprofit and nonpartisan online political encyclopedia created a dozen years ago to provide a comprehensive chronicling of federal, state and local politics, elections, and public policy. He was hired in 2010 as a staff writer covering state legislatures and has had the top newsroom job since 2015. Originally from New Jersey, Pallay, 35, lives in Charleston, S.C., with his wife, Megan, and their two children. His answers have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

What's the tweet-length description of your organization?

We preserve and expand knowledge about politics by providing objective information about federal, state and local politics.

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Big Picture

Turnout boost of '18 will complicate a repeat ballot initiative surge in '20

Ranked-choice voting for California. Automatic voter registration across Arizona. Independent redistricting in Arkansas, Oregon and South Dakota.

Ballot initiatives to accomplish these things, still lacking the required numbers of signatures, are facing the same reality as many other citizen-led ballot initiative campaigns in the run-up to 2020 — the need for a larger bankroll.

The surge in turnout in 2018, credited to a record number of good-government ballot initiatives as well as an intense battle for control of Congress, may have been a boon for representative democracy. But now the law of unintended consequences is coming in to play.

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