Direct democracy is a kind of democracy where all citizens are allowed to participate directly in government. In most jurisdictions direct democracy is used only to compliment the functioning of representative democracy. Typically the people may vote directly in a referendum to approve public borrowing, pass laws, veto laws orrecall a representative.

Direct democracy in practice:
  • allows a citizen initiative to be voted on and become law if it passes.
  • can include binding referendum on major policy issues.
  • can trigger a Recall of an elected representative.

Among nations, Switzerland makes the most use of direct democracy. (perhaps coincidentally, it has not gone to war for 400 years). It allows initiatives and referendums at both the local and federal levels. (See Direct democracy in Switzerland.)
Over half of the US states provide for citizen-sponsored ballot initiatives (also called "ballot measures" or "ballot questions") and the vast majority of the states have either initiatives and/or referenda.

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