Category Archives: Elections

Labor’s Political Options in the Presidential Elections

Source: New Labor Forum, Fall 2007
By David Moberg

With last year’s Democratic takeover of Congress, and growing public support for both the Democrats and for progressive ideas, the odds are looking good for a Democratic victory sweep next year. After two terms of Bush, the labor movement can at least breathe a sigh of relief at that prospect. But the labor movement needs more than such a victory. It needs to create a social movement that can turn this opportunity into a long-term campaign to give working people more power, more security, more opportunities to realize their potential, and a greater share of the nation’s prosperity.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the Iowa Democratic Caucus…But Were Afraid to Ask

Source: FairVote

Iowa Democratic Caucus

Quick Facts:
• If a Democratic candidate doesn’t reach the threshold of support necessary to win delegates (typically 15 percent, but sometimes higher) at a particular caucus, the candidate’s supporters usually switch to their second choice.
• Republicans choose candidates by secret ballot, but for Iowa Democrats, there are no ballots. All caucusing is done by physically standing with fellow supporters.
• The number of delegates up for grabs depends on how many Democrats voted in each precinct in the last gubernatorial and presidential elections.
• We may never know the raw vote count in the Democratic caucuses, or how the vote count changed after second choices come into play.
• The number of voters could be very small. In 2004, only 125,000 people participated in the Iowa caucus. On January 3, 2008, some sports fans may be lured away from the caucuses by the Orange Bowl, starting at 7 pm Iowa time.

Grading State Disclosure 2007

Source: Campaign Finance Institute

From press release:
Access to state-level candidate campaign disclosure data continued to improve in states across the country, according to Grading State Disclosure 2007, a comprehensive evaluation of campaign finance disclosure laws and programs in the 50 states. The 2007 study, released today by the California Voter Foundation, found that Washington State ranks first in the nation in campaign disclosure, while Oregon ranked as the most improved state in 2007.

The assessment was conducted by the Campaign Disclosure Project, which seeks to bring greater transparency and accountability to money in state politics. The project is a collaboration of the California Voter Foundation, the Center for Governmental Studies and the UCLA School of Law and is supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Executive Summary
Full Report (PDF; 943 KB)
State by State Summaries and Rankings

2006 Ballot Measure Overview

Source: National Institute on Money in State Politics

While voters may have the final say on ballot measures when they vote “yea” or “nea” at the ballot box, they have little to do with the funding of those measures. In 2006, only 23 percent of the $648 million raised to support or oppose ballot measures came from individuals, a new report finds.

And, only 15 donors gave most of that $147.5 million provided by individuals, according to the report by the National Institute on Money in State Politics stated. Businesses and special interests provided the lion’s share of funding for the measures, giving nearly $444.7 million. Labor organizations contributed another $48.2 million, while unitemized contributions — those that fall under the states’ reporting threshold for providing donor information — came to $3.3 million. The remaining $4.7 million came from party, candidate and leadership committees.

The 2006 election also saw a jump in the number of measures faced by voters: 219 measures appeared in 37 states, almost double the 111 measures in 28 states in 2004.

California led the pack in expensive campaigns, generating $359 million for 15 measures and accounting for more than half of the $648 million raised nationwide. One measure accounted for much of the money in California; Proposition 87, which would have imposed a profit tax on energy companies, drew $153.9 million in political donations.

Wikipedia For Politics? A New Site Gives It A Try

Source: Declan McCullagh, CNET, October 9, 2007

A political Web site set to launch on Tuesday plans to become a kind of Wikipedia-like destination specializing in elections, governments, and political candidates.

The idea behind is to provide a neutral, one-stop source of information about politics (and politicians) to which anyone can contribute. Changes must be approved by a staff editor before they take effect.
Related sites:
From the Center for Media and Democracy:
Coming this Week in Congress
The 2008 U.S. Congressional Elections Portal
U.S. presidential election, 2008
See also:
Beta of LOUIS (Library Of Unified Information Sources) Database

The ANES Guide To Public Opinion And Electoral Behavior

Source: The American National Election Studies, University of Michigan, Center for Political Studies, 2007

The Guide provides immediate access to tables and graphs that display the ebb and flow of public opinion, electoral behavior, and choice in American politics over time. It serves as a resource for political observers, policy makers, and journalists, teachers, students, and social scientists. The Guide currently contains data from 1948 through 2004.

Federal Election Commission Launches E-Mail Update Service

Source: Federal Election Commission

From the press release:
…automated email updates for a variety of campaign finance information. The new service will allow users to sign-up to receive notification whenever information important to them is added or changed on the Commission’s site…With a single click, users can now register to receive updates for one or more specific pages at including news releases, support for committee treasurers, updates on Commission decisions, etc. The system allows people to keep track of FEC actions in real time without receiving unwanted email about subjects not directly of interest.
Some RSS is also available.

Race, God, and Guns: Union Voting in the 2004 Presidential Election

Source: Donald W. Beachler, WorkingUSA, Vol. 10 no. 3, September 2007
(subscription required)

The conservative political preferences of many working class Americans have been the subject of much academic and popular analysis in recent years. This article investigates the voting behavior of union household residents in the 2004 presidential election. The source for this information is national and state exit polls from the 2004 election. There has been much debate about whether white working class support of Republicans is rooted in conservative cultural values. Despite ardent opposition by the Bush administration to the goals of organized labor, 46 percent of white voters who resided in union households voted Republican in the 2004 presidential election. The impact of race, religion, and gun ownership on the voting choice of labor households is investigated in an effort to provide an understanding of conservative voting by so many households affiliated with an interest group that is at odds with the Republicans.

Post-Election Audits: Restoring Trust In Elections

Source: Lawrence Norden, Aaron Burstein, Joseph Lorenzo Hall
and Margaret Chen, Samuelson Law, Technology, & Public Policy Clinic/Brennan Center for Justice, NYU School of Law, 2007

From press release:
The Samuelson Clinic has co-authored with the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law the first comprehensive review of state laws and academic research on audits designed to check the integrity of electronic voting systems.

The report, “Post Elections Audits: Restoring Trust in Elections,” finds that most states are not doing enough to use post-election audits of paper trails to ensure that electronic voting is secure and accurate. Taking account of the wide variations in the organization of election jurisdictions around the country, “Restoring Trust in Elections” outlines goals and methods for conducting cost-effective, rigorous audits that will help guard against programming errors as well as malicious attacks against electronic voting systems.

See also:
Clinic’s Electronic Voting Research Helps To Advance Election Integrity
Legal Issues Facing Election Officials in an Electronic-Voting World