Non-partisan U.S. Political News Reporting

Category: Archives

Understanding Race to the Top: Effects and Criticism

Mar 2 2014

By Alex Schaffer

On June 24, 2009, President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced a $4.35 billion competitive grant fund named the Race to the Top Fund. The competition, created by the U.S. Department of Education, was created to promote innovation and improvement in state and local K-12 education. The program was funded by the ED Recovery Act, a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. States were awarded funds for achieving performance standards, implementing reforms, complying with Common Core Standards, building comprehensive data systems and turning around low performing schools. The goal for this plan is to trail-blaze effective reform efforts and reward states and districts for implementing these reforms.[1] In 2012, President Obama announced a $400 million expansion of the program, known as the Race to the Top District competition.[2]

Application scoring

State applications for funding were graded on a 500 point scale and was awarded in three rounds of applications and awards. The selection criteria was based on seven areas:[3] A. State Success Factors – (125 Points) This area awarded points for a state’s ability to show their reform agenda, the state’s ability to implement these reform efforts and a dedication to closing achievement gaps and raising achievement. B. Read More

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Ballotpedia’s 2013 Recall Analysis

Dec 31 2013

By Brittany Clingen

A total of 38 states, plus the District of Columbia, allow some form of recall. In 2013, voters took advantage of the right to recall by launching 153 separate recall campaigns against 301 elected officials. Of the office holders targeted for recall, 41 were recalled, while 25 were retained. A total of 12 officials chose to resign.

Amid a year that featured several high-profile recall campaigns, including those of Angela Giron, John Morse, Bob Filner and Evie Hudak, there were whisperings of an impending recall epidemic that some said threatened to squander tax-payer dollars. However, after breaking down the numbers, 65 percent of all recall campaigns resolved in 2013 never advanced to an election.

Forty-seven of the 153 recall campaigns initiated in 2013 have carried over and will be resolved in 2014; eighty-eight of the 301 elected officials who have been targeted for recall will know their fate come the new year. Of the remaining 213 whose recall campaigns were resolved in 2013, 41 were recalled, 25 were retained and 12 resigned. This means that 135 of the 213 individual campaigns resolved in 2013, or 65 percent, never made it to the ballot.

As was the case in 2012, the two states with the most recall efforts were California and Michigan. Read More

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Press Release: Incorrect Projections Cause Campaign Costs to Skyrocket

Nov 19 2013

Incorrect Projections Cause Campaign Costs to Skyrocket Ballotpedia announces the real battlegrounds of 2014 Madison – November 19, 2013: There is a gap between the projected competitiveness of congressional races and their actual competitiveness. To combat the phenomenon of overstated competitiveness, Ballotpedia recently published a list of the 29 Most Competitive Districts in 2014.

Ballotpedia, a project of the non-profit, non-partisan Lucy Burns Institute, found that 34% of the districts deemed competitive by The Cook Political Report in 2012 were not actually competitive. This was no surprise to Ballotpedia’s Congress Project Director, Sarah Rosier. “Incumbency is king and gerrymandering has left only a handful of districts truly competitive,” Rosier said.

An inflated sense of competitiveness is great for the news cycle. When pundits, political organizations, or analysts classify a district as competitive, other outlets add the classification to their own coverage of the race.

Unfortunately, this increased coverage leads to increased campaign spending, regardless of whether the race is actually competitive. That is exactly what happened in Maryland’s 6th district during the 2012 election season. Many pundits and political organizations such as the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Democratic Congressional Committee and the Cook Political Report had classified the district as competitive throughout the election cycle. A total of $5.7 million was spent by the candidates in this district. Read More

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Ballot Box Weekly: Paint barely dry on 2013 elections with less than one month until first filing deadline of 2014

Nov 15 2013

Edited by Geoff Pallay

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Welcome to the sixth edition of our new publication, Ballot Box Weekly, a compilation of election coverage from across the various pages on Ballotpedia and Judgepedia. Our weekly series will be published on Wednesday afternoons and cover a range of election news from our projects, including candidate filing deadlines, primaries and elections. The report focuses specifically on the projects covered by the staff of Ballotpedia and Judgepedia: state executives, state legislatures, school boards, State courts, Congress and state and local ballot measures. We’ll be bringing you an assortment of elections coverage each week from up and down the ballot. This report is generated by the non-profit, non-partisan Lucy Burns Institute, the organization that sponsors Ballotpedia and Judgepedia.

This week’s Ballot Box Weekly features a closer look at some of the storylines from last week’s election, along with a glimpse at some unresolved races including elections in Louisiana on Saturday. For all the details of this year’s races, visit the Ballotpedia and Judgepedia election hub pages. Even as we have barely closed the books on the 2013 elections, we’re less than one month away from the first candidate filing deadline for elections in 2014. Read More

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Ballot Box Weekly: Few surprises mark yesterday’s elections

Nov 8 2013

Edited by Jamie Applegate

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Welcome to the fifth edition of our new publication, Ballot Box Weekly, a compilation of election coverage from across the various pages on Ballotpedia and Judgepedia. Our weekly series will be published on Wednesday afternoons and cover a range of election news from our projects, including candidate filing deadlines, primaries and elections. The report focuses specifically on the projects covered by the staff of Ballotpedia and Judgepedia: state executives, state legislatures, school boards, State courts, Congress and state and local ballot measures. We’ll be bringing you an assortment of elections coverage each week from up and down the ballot. This report is generated by the non-profit, non-partisan Lucy Burns Institute, the organization that sponsors Ballotpedia and Judgepedia.

This week’s Ballot Box Weekly features a look at the dozens of elections that took place yesterday and the results of those races. We’ll provide a big-picture overview of the emerging trends from election-night 2013. For all the details of yesterday’s races, visit the Ballotpedia and Judgepedia election hub pages.

What happened at the polls?

Elections this weeks took place across the country and included gubernatorial elections, school board elections, an attorney general election, ballot measure elections, judicial elections and state legislature elections. Read More

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Ballot Box Weekly: Previewing next week’s elections

Nov 1 2013

Edited by Jamie Applegate

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Welcome to the fourth edition of our new publication, Ballot Box Weekly, a compilation of election coverage from across the various pages on Ballotpedia and Judgepedia. Our weekly series will be published on Wednesday afternoons and cover a range of election news from our projects, including candidate filing deadlines, primaries and elections. The report focuses specifically on the projects covered by the staff of Ballotpedia and Judgepedia: state executives, state legislatures, school boards, State courts, Congress and state and local ballot measures. We’ll be bringing you an assortment of elections coverage each week from up and down the ballot. This report is generated by the non-profit, non-partisan Lucy Burns Institute, the organization that sponsors Ballotpedia and Judgepedia.

This week’s Ballot Box Weekly features a look at a special state legislative election in South Carolina as well as a preview of the many elections taking place on November 5. Read about this and more in this week’s report.

This Week in Elections States with Elections: 1 States with filing deadlines: 0 **South Carolina held a special election for a seat in its state legislature.

What happened at the polls?

This week, South Carolina held a special election for a vacant seat in its House of Representatives. Read More

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State Legislative Tracker: Minnesota legislators raise issues over online voting registration

Oct 29 2013

This week’s tracker includes a look at the controversy over online voting registration in Minnesota.

Weekly highlight

Last week, no state ended its legislative session. Here is a brief look at issues making headlines across the country:

Colorado: Nearly 19,000 valid signatures are needed by December 3 to force a recall vote on Democratic Senator Evie Hudak. Hudak is under scrutiny again after voting in favor of stricter gun control legislation. Another group organized a recall against Hudak earlier in the year, after her questioning of a rape victim during a debate drew national attention. Although the initial efforts to recall Hudak failed, the successful recalls of John Morse and Angela Giron last month encouraged Hudak’s critics to try again. Morse and Giron were replaced “by gun-rights Republicans,” resulting in the Democratic majority being reduced to one seat. A leader of the efforts to recall Hudak, Mike McAlpine, stated that she “has infringed upon our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.” Hudak is considered especially vulnerable to a recall because of her close win in the 2012 election, in which she defeated her opponents by less than 600 votes in a three-way race. If the valid signatures are collected, Democratic strategists plan to lobby Hudak to resign so that the Democratic single-seat majority would not be lost. Read More
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Ballot Box Weekly: Louisiana holds jungle primaries

Oct 25 2013

Edited by Jamie Applegate

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Welcome to the third edition of our new publication, Ballot Box Weekly, a compilation of election coverage from across the various pages on Ballotpedia and Judgepedia. Our weekly series will be published on Wednesday afternoons and cover a range of election news from our projects, including candidate filing deadlines, primaries and elections. The report focuses specifically on the projects covered by the staff of Ballotpedia and Judgepedia: state executives, state legislatures, school boards, State courts, Congress and state and local ballot measures. We’ll be bringing you an assortment of elections coverage each week from up and down the ballot. This report is generated by the non-profit, non-partisan Lucy Burns Institute, the organization that sponsors Ballotpedia and Judgepedia.

This week’s Ballot Box Weekly features a look at several elections, including judicial and congressional primaries in Louisiana and a legislative election in Iowa. Read about this and more in this week’s report.

This Week in Elections States with Elections: 3 States with filing deadlines: 1 **Elections covered this week were held in Louisiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

What happened at the polls?

A Congressional special election primary took place in Louisiana over the weekend. Read More

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Ballot Box Weekly: 1, 2, 3 days of elections this week

Oct 18 2013

Edited by Jamie Applegate

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Welcome to the second edition of our new publication, Ballot Box Weekly, a compilation of election coverage from across the various pages on Ballotpedia and Judgepedia. Our weekly series will be published on Wednesday afternoons and cover a range of election news from our projects, including candidate filing deadlines, primaries and elections. The report focuses specifically on the projects covered by the staff of Ballotpedia and Judgepedia: state executives, state legislatures, school boards, State courts, Congress and state and local ballot measures. We’ll be bringing you an assortment of elections coverage each week from up and down the ballot. This report is generated by the non-profit, non-partisan Lucy Burns Institute, the organization that sponsors Ballotpedia and Judgepedia.

This week’s Ballot Box Weekly features a look at a high profile special election in New Jersey as well as several other special elections across the United States. In total, voters are heading to the polls on three different days this week across the country. Read about this and more in this week’s report.

This Week in Elections States with Elections: 4 States with filing deadlines: 0 **Elections include two primary elections and two general elections.
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Ballot Box Weekly: Bringing you your weekly fill of elections coverage

Oct 11 2013

Edited by Jamie Applegate

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Welcome to the first edition of our new publication, Ballot Box Weekly, a compilation of election coverage from across the various pages on Ballotpedia and Judgepedia. Our weekly series will be published on Wednesday afternoons and cover a range of election news from across the county, including candidate filing deadlines, primaries and elections. The report focuses specifically on the projects covered by the staff of Ballotpedia and Judgepedia: state executives, state legislatures, school boards, State courts, Congress and state and local ballot measures. We’ll be bringing you an assortment of elections coverage each week from up and down the ballot. This report is generated by the non-profit, non-partisan Lucy Burns Institute, the organization that sponsors Ballotpedia and Judgepedia.

This week’s Ballot Box Weekly features a look at school board elections in North Carolina, New York court elections, and a development in Texas’ gubernatorial race for 2014. Read about this and more in this week’s report.

This Week in Elections States with Elections: 6 States with filing deadlines: 0 **Elections include four primaries and three school board elections.

What happened at the polls?

This week was a busy one for elections, with four primary elections and three school board elections as well as one bond measure election. Read More

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