Thanks to CREDO members, The Fairness Project is making progressive change across the country

When politicians fail, our grantees at the Fairness Project help grassroots organizations run ballot initiatives to support working families. Since 2015, the organization has won 23 campaigns to raise wages, expand health care, deliver paid leave, curb predatory lending, and more – changing over 18 million lives across the country. 

In July 2021, CREDO members voted to distribute $50,796 to the Fairness Project to help empower voters through ballot initiatives to win progressive policy change for economic, racial, and gender justice. We’d like to share some of their recent victories and new initiatives that CREDO members helped to make possible. 


Election Day 2021 Victories

Election Day 2021 resulted in another batch of wins for the Fairness Project, bringing the organization’s winning record to 23 out of 24 campaigns. 

In Cleveland, voters approved Issue 24, a charter amendment that ensures real accountability for police misconduct by providing Clevelanders with permanent and powerful civilian oversight on policing and community safety policies.

In Austin, voters defeated Proposition A, which would have forced Austin to cut essential services to spend hundreds of millions more solely on the police department, with zero accountability.

In Tucson, voters approved Proposition 206, ensuring a minimum wage increase to $15 by 2025 and several protections for workers.


New Initiatives by the Fairness Project

Since receiving its grant from CREDO, Fairness Project has expanded its current programming to include work defending the ballot measure process itself. With the Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign, the group will support litigation, state-level legislative advocacy, and statewide ballot measure campaigns because maintaining access to citizen-initiated ballot measure processes is both vital to American democracy and to the Fairness Project’s core mission. 

A number of states will likely vote on whether to raise the win threshold on ballot measures, or otherwise make the ballot initiative much harder if not impossible to use, in 2022. Fairness Project is monitoring developments in Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota and may engage in campaigns in some or all of these places to defeat these questions and protect the ballot process for the future. 

On top of this new portfolio of work, we are continuing to fight for progressive change at the ballot box.

South Dakota: Expanding Medicaid

  • South Dakotans Decide Healthcare, a broad coalition of patient advocates, nurses, healthcare providers, farmers, faith leaders, educators, and others officially qualified for a place on the ballot in November 2022. South Dakota voters will have the opportunity to expand healthcare coverage to more than 42,500 residents and bring hundreds of millions of tax dollars back from Washington. 

Michigan: Ending predatory payday lending

  • Michiganders for Fair Lending, a campaign to cap interest on predatory payday loans to 36% APR, has begun collecting signatures to qualify its measure. This would be TFP’s third campaign aimed at reining in predatory lending. We have also worked in Nebraska (2020) and Colorado (2018). 

Michigan: Protecting reproductive freedom

  • Michigan for Reproductive Freedom is a groundbreaking ballot measure that would ensure the right to reproductive freedom for all in Michigan’s constitution. This is critically important because if Roe v. Wade is overturned or scaled back in June, an abortion ban from 1931 would go back into effect, meaning millions would lose access to abortion services, and doctors would face up to 15 years in prison for providing abortion services.  

Arizona: Relieving burdensome medical debt

  • Healthcare Rising Arizona is leading a ballot initiative that would limit asset seizure due to medical debt, and help ensure that no one can lose their house or their car simply by going to the hospital. This campaign is currently gathering signatures to place the question on the ballot.