Activists often utilize ballot measures to protect wildlife. However, state executive branches may employ a variety of means to subvert direct democracy. We examine some of these tactics via a case study of two nearly identical ballot initiatives that were intended to outlaw the aerial killing of wolves in Alaska. In the first case, the language that appeared on the ballot was created by an executive branch sympathetic to the measure. In the second case, the ballot language was created by an executive branch opposed to the measure. In the first case, the ballot language accurately communicated the intent of the initiative and it passed. In the second case, it did not communicate the intent of the initiative or pass. Moreover, in the second case, the Palin administration utilized public funds to persuade voters not to support the initiative.