Five Types of Campaign Advertisements


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As we move closer to next month’s election – and the elections of 2018 – campaigns on both sides of the aisle are already beginning to inundate Americans with political ads.

It doesn’t matter where you live: odds are you will come across images of well-manicured lawns and ambiguous monologues from well-dressed, but not too well-dressed, Americans running for political office.

But can you identify a political ad before the first image of a politician’s family pops up? Here’s a primer on the different types of campaign ads to get you ready for every type of political content that will be broadcast, streamed, and Instagrammed in the coming year.

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Fast and Curious: Ranked Choice Voting Picks Up Steam


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Photo Credits: Pete Vankevich

In the 2016 general election, voters in the state of Maine approved a ballot measure mandating use of Ranked Choice Voting beginning January 1st, 2018 for certain federal and state officers.  Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) allows you to rank candidates; if your first choice doesn’t win, your second choice might.  The Maine Supreme Court, early this year, released a non-binding advisory opinion stating that RCV is unconstitutional after interpreting the state constitution to mean that a plurality of votes (the most votes) is enough to win an election to office. The future is uncertain as lawmakers in Maine have struggled to decide on the status of RCV in the state.

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Turnout Problem: Local Elections


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Source: mlive.com

Voter turnout in local elections on the decline. Some local elections have brought just 10% of the electorate to the polls on Election Day.

Older, more affluent citizens are also more likely to vote, in almost all elections. Portland State University found that the median voter age in mayoral elections was 57, nearly an entire generation older than the average citizen. Turnout in ten of the 30 largest US cities was less than 15%, and in three cities – Las Vegas, Fort Worth, and Dallas – turnout was in the single digits. (more…)

Meet the Candidates Running for South Carolina’s 5th District Congressional Seat


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South Carolina will hold a special election on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 to replace former Congressman Mick Mulvaney, who was confirmed as  Director of the Office of Management and Budget by the Senate in February.         

There are five candidates on the ballot:  Ralph Norman (R) and Archie Parnell (D) were chosen through primary elections and Victor Kocher (Libertarian), David Kulma (Green) and Josh Thornton (American) were nominated by party leaders.  We’ve put together information about each candidate below. (more…)

How to Vote: South Carolina


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On June 20, 2017, South Carolina will hold a special election to fill the seat left by former Congressman Mick Mulvaney, who was appointed in February by President Trump to direct the Office of Management and Budget. Candidates for the House seat include Democrat Archie Parnell and Republican Ralph Norman, who won his way to compete in the general election after a closely contested primary runoff against Tommy Pope. Rounding out the candidates in the race are David Kulma (Green Party), Josh Thornton (American Party), and Victor Kocher (Libertarian Party).

For those who reside in South Carolina’s Fifth Congressional District (which includes all of Cherokee, Chester, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lancaster, Lee, Union, and York counties and parts of Newberry, Spartanburg, and Sumter counties), we have answered some questions in order to help you cast your vote next week. (more…)

Meet the Candidates Running for California’s Vacant Congressional Seat


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Earlier this year, California’s 34th district held a special primary election to replace former Rep. Xavier Becerra (D) – Becerra resigned earlier this year to serve as California’s Attorney General. There were 23 candidates on the ballot, but due to California’s open primary system, since no single candidate received more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote getters have moved on and will be facing off against each other in a June 6 runoff election. The two candidates are Jimmy Gomez (D) and Robert Lee Ahn (D). We’ve put together some key facts about them below. (more…)

How to Vote: Montana


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On May 25, 2017, Montana will hold a special at-large Congressional election to fill the seat left by former Congressman Ryan Zinke, who was confirmed by the Senate as Trump’s Secretary of the Interior earlier this year. Candidates were chosen by party elites at conventions and there will be three candidates on the ballot. You can read more about them here.

There is still debate going on over whether the election will be mail only, but for now, officials have said it is safe to assume the election will be conducted will fully open polling places. For those who are residents of the state and wish to vote in the election, we have answered some questions in order to help you cast your vote on the ballot later this month. (more…)

How to Vote: Georgia


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On April 18, 2017, Georgia will hold a special primary election in its 6th Congressional District to fill the seat left by former Congressman Tom Price (R), who resigned from his position earlier this year to act as President Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Stakes are high for both Democrats and Republicans in the race, and if one candidate is able to receive more than 50% of the vote, there will be no runoff election later this year. For those who are residents of the district and wish to vote in the election, we have answered some questions in order to help you cast your vote on the ballot this upcoming Tuesday.

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Chicago’s 4th Ward: A Special Election, and an Obama Endorsement


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Chicago skyline, view north from Madison Park Apartments, Hyde Park Boulevard and Dorchester

Wondering what former president Barack Obama’s been up to since leaving office? Well, it turns out he’s still interested in politics. Local politics on the South Side of Chicago, in particular.

Chicago’s 4th Ward will be holding a special election for alderman on Tuesday, February 28th. The 4th Ward’s previously elected alderman, Will Burns, left the office in April to go work for Airbnb. Mayor Rahm Emanuel then appointed Sophia King, a former teacher and Chicago Public Schools administrator, to the position.

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How many candidates are on the November ballot? (A lot more than you think)


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With just a week left before Election Day, most voters will enter the voting booth prepared to vote for president. When pressed, even the dwindling number of still-undecided voters could most likely say something of the candidates’ beliefs and backgrounds. Beyond the president, if there’s a competitive House, Senate, or governor’s race, most voters will at least have heard the candidates’ names.

But in spite of this, around 30% of voters will enter the voting booth in November and fail to complete their ballots. Another untold percentage will reach the downballot races and then guess.

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