Ballot measures allow voters to propose and enact laws. They include ballot initiatives, constitutional amendments, bond measures, and referenda. 501(c)(3) organizations can proactively initiate ballot measures or react to ballot measures proposed by others. They can also support or oppose measures and encourage the public to vote accordingly.
Under federal tax law, ballot measures are considered to be specific pieces of legislation submitted for approval by the voters. That means a charity’s work to support or oppose a ballot measure constitutes a lobbying effort directed at the voters, who will vote to enact or reject the proposed law. This means that 501(h) electors must count efforts to influence voters to approve or oppose a ballot measure as direct lobbying.
NOTE: This activity may be covered and disclosure required under state lobby disclosure or election law provisions.
» Also see our Ballot Measure Toolkit