State legislative elections

Election Paper Outline This paper is about a political campaign for a Michigan State or Local political office. School board elections city council elections mayoral elections state legislative elections and state-wide elections for Michigan government positions are all good choices. U.S. House or U.S. Senate are not acceptable choices without special permission. Focus your attention on the political office the way people are elected to that office and the campaign that you observed rather than writing a lot about the particular individual. You will of course write a little about the person but that is not the focus of your paper. I do not care how many children they have their pets or how much you admire your candidate. Students will analyze a current or recent political campaign using the following methods: The paper should be approximately 15 double-spaced pages excluding attachments and a reference list–about 20 pages with the attachments. I don’t count pages. This is just guideline. The following is an outline for the Michigan Politics Paper. Use the headings provided for each section of the paper. Part IA: The Candidates (2-3 pages) Name your candidate and the office he or she is running for. Who are/were the other major candidates? Very very briefly describe the major candidates. (If there were many candidates discuss only two or three major candidates) What were the one or two (three at most) major issues? How did your candidate get nominated or included on the ballot? For example some offices require that candidates get citizens’ signatures to run others allow people to pay a fee for others candidates are nominated at a party convention sometimes there’s a primary election sometimes there isn’t. Look in the Michigan Manual your city charter newspaper articles ask at your local library for local candidates also check the county or city clerk’s office for specific information—and cite those sources in your reference list Part 1B: The Office (2-3 pages). Describe the office the candidate is seeking. Be sure to include the following: 1) its powers (What can the person in this office do?) 2) its benefits (for example salary health insurance legal protection) 3) its limits (What is the person in this office prohibited from doing—conflicts of interest etc. ) and 5) some history of the office (has it been held by the same candidate/party forever – did the position always exist)? For example: when was the city founded and has the mayor always been elected in partisan elections? 6) Also describe how candidates are elected to this office (partisan or nonpartisan elections the top vote getters out of a long list two major candidates facing off against each other . . .? Part II. The District (2 pages) — You should describe the geography demography and past political behavior of the district (or city or county) from which the candidate is to be elected. SEMCOG and the U.S. Census Bureau are good sources for demographic information (ethnicity education income home ownership). Look at a map of the district—if that’s appropriate. What is the past political behavior of the district? (turnout in local state national elections – partisan preferences in local state and national elections – turnover in the office for the position you’re writing about – is turnout highly differential in different parts of the city/county/district). Part III. The Campaign (2-3 pages) –What were the major events in the campaign? What media and other methods did candidates use to get their message across? (signs handouts brochures bumper stickers). What groups supported your candidate? (list endorsements and major campaign contributions) How did these groups support your candidate (money grassroots volunteers newspaper endorsements letters to the editor of the local paper inviting the candidate to group meetings issue ads Get Out the Vote (GOTV) efforts other). What groups supported his or her main opponent(s) (discuss one or two opponents only)? Part IV. Dollars Raised and Spent : (3 pages) What amount of money was raised and spent–totals? (Provide an appendix and discuss briefly in the text) What were some of the major items your candidate spent money on? (Campaign contributions must be reported so check the Secretary of State website or ask your city or county officials or the candidate and his or her staff as a last resort. Some of these reports will not be filed with the Secretary of State until December so if you’ve worked on a campaign ask the campaign manager or the candidate who gave large amounts of money. You don’t need to list every $10 contribution but the large donors are often interesting and reveal a lot about a candidate. The top 10 donors would be fine.) What are the big expenditures? Was all the money spent? Is the campaign in debt? Are there some late large donations that might cause some people to be concerned about who your candidate might owe favors? Who are the donors? Are they individuals or PACs or interest groups or political parties? Part V. The Results (2 pages) –Who won? What precincts or regions went for each candidate? What were the areas of strength for each candidate? (You may need to leave a blank here until the end if the race is close and the results aren’t final yet.) Who supported the candidate? Was this victory expected or a surprise? Part VI. Analysis of the Election (2 or 3 pages) Why did the winner win? (This last question requires that you think about institutional factors (district composition—the map) issues and key events money and support GOTV the nature of the office the economic climate name recognition coat tails of others higher up the party ticket etc.). Part VII . Conclusions (1-2 pages) —How does what you have discovered about this election relate to what we have discussed in class? How does it confirm challenge or extend what we have found? What did you learn by working on a campaign? Appendices The following is a checklist for the required appendices to be attached at the end of the paper: Requirements: 16 pages | .doc file Tracking the campaign through media coverage such as newspapers television and radio. (WSU Library provides you with access to archives of Detroit News and Free Press.) Analyzing campaign materials including election results campaign contributions records and other official documents. The purpose of the election paper is to acquaint students with the electoral process and the political structures in Michigan. A list of the things you did to help the campaign. Or if you did not volunteer you’ll need to interview your candidate. Provide a transcript of the interview or a summary. A sample of flyers brochures or other campaign material. If you’ve volunteered you can just ask for an extra copy – or go help clean up the campaign office after the election and you’re likely to have lots of extra copies or pass out literature on election day and keep one copy for your paper. This year most of this might be online. But there could be mailed flyers and if you volunteer you can ask that someone send you one.

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