chapter  7
24 Pages

Topic Selection and Language Barriers

Ballot language does not exist in a vacuum; a variety of influences can affect how complicated the ballot measure is. The previous chapter demonstrates one way that ballot measures are deemed complex by language or grade level; however, these factors are not alone in complicating ballot questions. Topics and ease of issue can also complicate participation. Some topics cannot be simplified into easy-toread language. Yet other topics are so salient in our society that we would expect that the topic would facilitate participation. One example is the issue of abortion in which the topic and outcome of a ballot measure are fairly clear, this should compensate for any complications that arise due to ballot language. This chapter delves into this topic-language connection to determine if there are components of the topic and ease that facilitate or add further barriers to participation.