CRF Blog

Why Are Ballot Measures So Confusing?

by Bill Hayes

The New York Times’ Room for Debate lets various knowledgeable contributors discuss news events and other timely issues. One recent debate covered: Why Are Ballot Measures So Confusing?

Some Floridians who voted early are up in arms after learning they mistakenly voted for a constitutional amendment that did the opposite of what they assumed it would do: A measure written in language that made it seem supportive of the solar energy industry was actually designed to allow utilities with competing interests to raise fees on solar customers — hurting the industry.

But ballots routinely include measures that are cast in opaque language, mixing voters up on what they are truly voting for or against. Is there a way to ensure that ballot language is less confusing? [more]