Friday, September 19, 2014

Measuring the Strength of the Two Parties

One of the frustrating things about analyzing United States elections is that we often proceed without any agreed-upon definitions of the terms were are discussing.

Source: Measuring the Strength of the Two Parties

Thursday, September 18, 2014

5 States Put Voting Reform to the Voters

Several ballot measures in states this year illustrate the ongoing split personality of American election reform, where states look to either impede or assist people’s ability to influence government with their vote. Ballots in at least five states -- Connecticut, Montana, Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas -- focus on some kind of election reform. Most states have made voting harder in the past decade by enacting voter ID laws, ostensibly to guard against voter impersonation, a problem that the public believes to be more widespread than the evidence suggests. For example, a five-year crackdown by the Justice Department under President George W. Bush resulted in only 86 people being found guilty of voter fraud across all 50 states, according to a 2007 investigation by The New York Times.

Source: 5 States Put Voting Reform to the Voters

Twitter’s new guide for campaigners

Twitter released a guide for elected officials and candidates that details the do’s and don’ts of how to effectively use the social media site. The 137-page report is Twitter’s first comprehensive publication that puts in place the basics on everything from setting up an account (believe it or not, there are still a few stragglers in Congress) to the best way to get a retweet (post a photo).

Source: Twitter’s new guide for campaigners | Benton Foundation

Twitter is out today with a useful guide for elected officials and candidates that details the do’s and don’ts of how to effectively use the social media site. The 137-page report is Twitter’s first comprehensive publication that puts in place the basics on everything from setting up an account (believe it or not, there are still a few stragglers in Congress) to the best way to get a retweet (post a photo).  It also gives campaigners hints on what kinds of messages can break through the clutter, namely by giving authentic and behind-the-scenes glimpses of what it’s like to serve in office. Two examples: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during Hurricane Sandy posted a photo on Twitter of him speaking by phone with President Obama and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) telling his followers how he had hit a deer on the road.

Source: Twitter’s new guide for campaigners - Darren Samuelsohn - POLITICO.com

 

Guide is available here

Overtime: Five Reasons Senate Control Might Not Be Decided on Election Day

Think the Senate will be decided on Election Day, Nov. 4? There are all sorts of reasons why you shouldn’t, unless in the next seven weeks one side or the other — probably the Republicans — starts opening up a clear lead in enough races to give them a clear majority. If neither side does, control of the Senate could remain up in the air — for a while. At the very least, political watchers are going to be in for a longer night than usual because one of the key races that is likely to determine control, Sen. Mark Begich’s (D) reelection bid in Alaska, is taking place 4,000 miles and four time zones away from Washington, D.C. (and five in the Aleutian Islands). Load up on Red Bull and, if you can, hold the vodka. Beyond that, though, the uncertainty could continue for much longer. The potential for overtime exists in two key states, and perhaps others, too, depending on how close the races are on Nov. 4. Beyond that, a close or even tied Senate will test the partisan loyalties of some members, including those who were elected with no party label at all.

Source: Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball » Overtime: Five Reasons Senate Control Might Not Be Decided on Election Day

FEC issues Advisory Opinion allowing ActBlue to split contributions

Advisory Opinion 2014-13 (ActBlue). The Commission unanimously approved an advisory opinion in response to a request from ActBlue. The Commission concluded that a box on ActBlue's contribution forms, which allows a contributor to enter a single contribution amount and split that amount among the recipient committees, would not result in ActBlue’s exercising direction or control over the choice of recipient candidates or political committees. The Commission concluded further that use of the box under the circumstances described in the request would not subject the fundraising activity at issue to the Commission’s joint fundraising rules.

Source: Open Meeting

Sheldon Adelson cracks open checkbook for GOP

Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has donated $10 million to a Karl Rove-backed outfit boosting Republican Senate candidates and promised a similar amount to an allied group focused on House races, POLITICO has learned. The check to the Rove-conceived Crossroads GPS and the pledge to American Action Network represent the first major foray into the 2014 congressional midterms by Adelson, according to multiple sources who travel in big-money GOP circles.

Source: Sheldon Adelson cracks open checkbook for GOP - Kenneth P. Vogel - POLITICO.com

House Democrats, super-PAC launch websites attacking Republicans in advance of Wednesday's Benghazi hearing

A super-PAC tied to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched a website Tuesday it says will "shed light on House Republicans' efforts to use a terrorist attack against the United States for political gain." According to a story from The Hill, the super-PAC American Bridge and Correct the Record unveiled the new, rapid-response website to address the "phony scandal" surrounding actions both before and after the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012.

Source: House Democrats, super-PAC launch websites attacking Republicans in advance of Wednesday's Benghazi hearing | AL.com