|—n , pl -dums, -da|
|1.||submission of an issue of public importance to the direct vote of the electorate|
|2.||a vote on such a measure|
|3.||a poll of the members of a club, union, or other group to determine their views on some matter|
|4.||a diplomatic official's note to his government requesting instructions|
|[C19: from Latin: something to be carried back, from referre to |
A vote by the general public, rather than by governmental bodies, on a bill or some other important issue; a plebiscite. (See under “American Politics.”)
A direct popular vote on an issue of public policy, such as a proposed amendment to a state constitution or a proposed law. Referendums, which allow the general population to participate in policymaking, are not used at the national level, but are common at the state and local levels. A referendum is often used to gauge popular approval or rejection of laws recently passed or under consideration by a state legislature. A referendum can also be used to initiate legislative action.