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  • A process, rising in the late 19th to early 20th centuries in the United States, whereby either a petition signed by registered voters forces a public vote on a proposed change of legislation or executive or legislative bodies are forced to consider a particular issue. An initiative may be direct, whereby a measure is put directly to a vote after being submitted by a petition. Or it may be indirect, whereby a measure is first referred to a legislature and put to a popular vote only if not enacted by the legislature. In the United States, indirect initiatives put to the vote are called referendums, ballot measures, or propositions.

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