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GOP escalates fight against citizen-led ballot initiatives

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Hundreds of thousands of people have signed initiative petitions for ballot measures in several states that would expand voting access, ensure abortion rights and legalize recreational marijuana.

But voters might not get a say on those proposed ballot initiatives. Recent decisions by Republican officials or judges have blocked votes in Arizona, Arkansas and Michigan. Those officials or judges said the petitions contained flawed wording, procedural shortcomings or insufficient signatures. Appeals are pending in some states.

The Republican pushback against the initiative process is part of a trend that gained steam after Democratic-aligned groups began using initiatives to force votes on policies that Republican legislatures had opposed.

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