December 20, 2011 •
As we head into the big election year, those ubiquitous automated political campaign phone calls are making news again:
“Robocall Campaigns Dialing Up As Election Season Draws Near” by Sarah Lai Stirland on TechPresident.
“Republicans accuse Gingrich of illegal robo-calls” by Steve Peoples in The Associated Press.
“Robocalling Hillary 2012” by Emily Schultheis in Politico. Apparently a group of Hillary Clinton supporters are using robocalls to get her on the 2012 presidential ballot.
“Afternoon Fix: Nikki Haley robocalls for Romney” by Aaron Blake in the Washington Post.
Did you know you can return the favor with political candidates by calling them back with your own robocall? This website offers a service to contact politicians: Reverse Robocall: Talk Back. Be Heard
According to the website: “Welcome to the Robocall Revolution. We believe that voters should have access to the same technology political groups use to get their message across; so we built a simple web-based robocall tool to literally give citizens back their voice in the political discourse.
ReverseRobocall.com provides voters an easy way to communicate with one or hundreds of politicians or political groups using the same technology politicians use, the robocall or automated phone call.”
December 13, 2011 •
Campaigns and Fundraising Affected by Competing District Lines
The U.S. Supreme Court has announced it will hear arguments on January 9 regarding Congressional and State Legislature districts in Texas. This has put Texas campaigning and fundraising in a state of confusion.
You can find the news coverage here:
“Redistricting Orders Throw Texas Politics Into Disarray” by Ross Ramsey in the Texas Tribune.
“Texas Elections Are in Limbo Over Redistricting Issue” by Manny Fernandez in the New York Times.
“Judges to offer guidance to party leaders after Supreme Court blocks maps” by Tim Eaton in the American-Statesman.
October 5, 2011 •
Upcoming and recently held elections
Ontario: According to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario website, 39th Parliament of Ontario has been dissolved. General Elections will be held on Thursday, October 6, 2011. You can find out about the election results here.
Yukon: According to the Yukon Legislative Assembly website, a general election to elect the 33rd Legislative Assembly will be held on Tuesday, October 11, 2011.
Recently held elections:
Manitoba: According to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba website, there was a general election on Tuesday, October 4, 2011.
Northwest Territories: According to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories website, there was a general election on Monday, October 3, 2011.
Prince Edward Island: According to the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island website, a general election was held on Monday, October 3, 2011.
September 15, 2011 •
With a big election year looming, Govtech.com talks about what will be new this time around.
GovTech.com has published an interesting read about the relationship between technology and the elections industry.
The article, “Perspective: 5 Tech Trends in the Elections Industry“by Nicole Ciotti, lists trends to expect in the upcoming elections. Mobile phone optimized websites, mobile apps, and social media platforms will be prominent in voter outreach and in educating the public prior to the elections. Those tools will be an advantage in offering news and updates during and after the elections as well.
Photo of the vote sign by Tom Arthur on Wikipedia.
July 5, 2011 •
Jindal Signs Into Law
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed House Bill 509 into law, changing the date of the state’s presidential primary. The primary moves to March on the first Saturday which follows the first Tuesday. Previously, the presidential primaries were held in February.
The change in law becomes effective immediately.
May 26, 2011 •
New Law Changes Political Committee Requirements
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has signed House Bill 2080 into law. This bill requires every treasurer for a political committee to report the name and address of each candidate for whom an in-kind expenditure in the aggregate of $300 or more has been made. The political committee treasurer must also report the services or products provided, as well as the amount, date, and purpose of each expenditure.
A second provision in the bill requires political committee treasurers to report the name and address of each candidate for state and local office who is the subject of an expenditure, made without the cooperation or consent of the candidate or the candidate’s committee, expressly advocating the nomination, election, or defeat of such candidate, in the aggregate amount or fair market value of $300 or more.
March 22, 2011 •
Technology is allowing people to get involved in the redistricting process.
You may live in a state where the state Legislature has the responsibility of drawing the congressional districts, or you may live in a state where an independent commission does the job. One thing is certain, now that the 2010 U.S. Census has published its findings, there is renewed interest by average citizens in the redistricting process.
Something is different this time around, though. We now have software that allows anyone with a computer to come up with their own redistricting plans. There are enthusiasts out there who would like to see fairer and more competitive races, some who would like to see their political party wipe out their opponents, and some who would just like to get rid of crazy-shaped gerrymander districts. For many hobbyists, this has been just for fun, but others are really trying to make a change. The Commonwealth of Virginia even held a Redistricting Competition.
Here are two interesting articles on the subject:
“Technology allows citizens to be part of redistricting process” by Gregory Korte in USA Today from March 21.
“Hobbyists Take Up Redrawing Congressional Maps” by Danny Yadron in the Wall Street Journal from March 21.
Are you eager give it a try? Fear not, you can use Dave’s Redistricting App. Now, go slay some Gerrymanders!
March 16, 2011 •
Political consultant sees big changes.
On March 14, Politico published an interview of political consultant Joe Trippi. He speaks about what should be clear to everyone after the 2008 presidential election – social media has changed the rules of engagement in political campaigning.
What will startle many people is his set of predictions: By 2012 or 2016, Trippi sees an end to the two-party domination of presidential elections (thanks to social media) and a level of fund raising that will eclipse what we saw with the Obama campaign. He also sees such funding going to a third-party candidate who is smart enough to use social media in an innovative way. The result could be a great political upset for Democrats and Republicans.
Whatever unfolds in the coming year, the missing piece from the discussion is consideration of the ramifications for campaign finance regulation. In the scenario Trippi depicts, how will the new issues of advertising on social networks be handled? How will the source of funding be disclosed for a Facebook or Twitter message that is primarily a political advertisement and could social media efforts fall under the category of in-kind contributions?
The developments could complicate state elections, too. We have Maryland’s State Board of Elections and California’s Fair Political Practices Commission as examples of the first efforts at the regulation of political campaigning on the internet. I wonder how many oversight agencies will get out ahead of the issue by the next election?
For the Politico interview, read “Joe Trippi: Social media will kill two-party system” by Mike Zapler.
March 1, 2011 •
Special Election to Replace Three Assembly Seats Vacated by Legislators Serving in Walker Administration
A special election has been scheduled for May 3, 2011 to fill three seats left vacant in the Wisconsin State Assembly by legislators who accepted positions in the Walker Administration. In an executive order, Governor Walker ordered the special election for Assembly Districts 60, 83 and 94.
If primaries are necessary in any of the districts, they will be held on Tuesday, April 5, 2011, concurrent with the spring election.
Photo of the Wisconsin State Capitol by Jeff dean on Wikipedia.
February 14, 2011 •
A new study shows a greater connection between social media and political campaigns.
In January, the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project released the results of a study showing 22% of people who are active on the internet were in some way engaged with political campaigns via social media in the 2010 election cycle. According to the study, people felt that connecting with candidates on Facebook and Twitter allowed them to be more in touch with the campaigns and said it gave them timely information.
The base of people involved in social media activity has grown since the 2008 elections:
“The social networking population as a whole has grown larger and demographically more diverse in recent years, and the same is true when it comes to political activity on social networking sites.” said Aaron Smith, Senior Researcher Specialist and author of the report. “These platforms are now utilized by politically active individuals of all ages and ideologies to get news, connect with others, and offer their thoughts on the issues that are important to them.”
You can find the synopsis of the Pew Center’s study here: “22% of online Americans used social networking or Twitter for politics in 2010 campaign” and the site also allows you to download the entire report.
Picture courtesy of VIA Gallery on Wikipedia.
February 7, 2011 •
Democratic Party says it won’t use corporate money for their national convention.
Here is a campaign finance news item from last Friday. According to an article in the New York Times, the Democratic Party has announced it will not use corporate money for their national convention. The article said there will still be a chance for corporate in-kind contributions, and they can still pay for parties on the periphery of the official event.
For the full story, see “Democrats Promise No Corporate Money for Convention” by Michael Shear in the February 4 issue of the New York Times.
Photo of the 2008 Democratic National Convention by Qqqqqq on Wikipedia.
January 28, 2011 •
There Must Be a Special Election for Governor in 2011
The state supreme court has declared a special gubernatorial election must be held this year. Under West Virginia law, if a Governor vacates the office, the President of the Senate becomes “acting Governor” but may only do so for one year or less.
Last year, after the passing of Senator Byrd, then-Governor Manchin won a special election for the vacant Senate seat. Current “acting Governor” Earl Ray Tomblin and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant have each indicated they will be candidates in the October 4, 2011 election.
November 1, 2010 •
Secretary of State’s office sends reminder
Secretary Bowen reminds employees they must provide two days’ notice to their employers in order to exercise this privilege.“California’s time-off-to-vote law ensures all voters, regardless of their work schedules, will be able to vote on November 2″, said Bowen.
Photo of the California Secretary of State Building by Mav on Wikipedia.
October 29, 2010 •
For those of you who have the upcoming elections on your mind, here are some great Web sites to visit.
VOTE411.org, hosted by the League of Women Voters Education Fund, has everything you could possibly need regarding voting and the coming elections. With VOTE411.org, no one can use the excuse that they did not have enough information to vote. Not sure about where to go to vote? VOTE411.org can tell you where your polling place is. Overseas during the elections? No problem, they have a Military and Overseas Voter page. You can learn about absentee voting, early voting, election dates, information about candidates, and ID requirements tailored to your state!
My favorite thing on VOTE411.org is the “Build Your Ballot” feature. Just type in your street address, city, and zip code, and Build Your Ballot will tell you all about your U.S. Congress District and your State Upper and Lower House Districts. From there it will tell you exactly what races will be on your ballot.
If you are the type who likes to see into the future, Google 2010 U.S. Election Ratings has map overlays showing the predictions of CQ Politics, Rothenberg Political Report, Real Clear Politics, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and the Cook Political Report. All in one place. You can look at the trends for the U.S. races as well as drill down into the states.
You can always go to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog. Silver not only gives you a color-coded map of the states, but also a set of percentages for the probabilities of race outcomes.
You say you want more? How about trying a search of “U.S. 2010 election predictions” on YouTube? YouTube serves up a mix of serious television news coverage clips, to the silly Politizoid animated video.
There. That should keep even the most election-obsessed people busy… lots of hand-wringing to do.
Vote sign photo by Tom Arthur on Wikipedia.
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