As the U.S. waited to find out the results of a close presidential race, states and cities already knew the outcomes of many policy and spending decisions that were posed directly to voters on Election Day. Local referenda reflected both efforts that far preceded the coronavirus pandemic, and those that were energized by recent events, from the economic downturn to racial justice protests.
But not all of the proposals made it to the ballot. Covid-19 lockdowns dealt an early blow to the ballot initiative campaign season, hindering door-to-door signature-collecting efforts and delaying outreach on some initiatives. Case in point: As the Trace reported, 2020 marks the first time in six years that there wasn’t a single gun reform initiative.