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Wnat is Direct Democracy?

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Peoples with hands raised gathered on street.
Emma Espejo/Moment/Getty Images
Direct democracy, sometimes called "pure democracy," is a form of democracy in which the people themselves, rather than elected representatives, determine the laws and policies by which they are governed.

Direct democracy is the opposite of the more common "representative democracy," under which the people elect representatives empowered to create laws and policies. Ideally, the laws and policies enacted by the elected representatives in a representative democracy reflect the will of the people.

While the United States practices representative democracy, as embodied in the U.S. Congress and the state legislatures, three forms of limited direct democracy are practiced at the state and local level: ballot initiatives and referendums, and recall of elected officials.

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