elections

Voting Can Be Hard, Information Helps

March 4, 2019 // 0 Comments

Melody Crowder-Meyer, Shana Kushner Gadarian , and Jessica Trounstine | How do voters make decisions about which candidates to support? This isn’t just a question we study as political scientists – it’s a question we confront as voters as well. In 2016, one of us had to vote for a presidential nominee by picking convention delegates on a ballot that did not clearly indicate which presidential candidate each delegate supported. In 2017, another one of us was asked to select 5 names from a list of 13 candidates for town board on a ballot with no additional information about the candidates – not even their party affiliations. In contrast, in both of those years, the one of us living in California chose among candidates – in both partisan and non-partisan races – on ballots including not just names but also “ballot designations” indicating candidate occupations and past experience in the office. Read More

Factional Voting in Local Elections: The Case of Cambridge, MA

February 7, 2019 // 0 Comments

By Jack Santucci | Cambridge (MA) is the last of 24 U.S. cities to elect its assembly with the single transferable vote (STV). The point of this system is for a group with, say, 30 percent of votes to end up winning 30 percent of seats — if voters sort into groups. But are voters actually sorting into groups under this STV system? Seventy, fifty, or even thirty years ago, those groups were political parties. As the city became overwhelmingly Democratic, that party system collapsed. Read More

Ada County, Idaho is Growing and so is the Role of Women in its Governance

November 15, 2018 // 1 Comment

By Jaclyn J. Kettler | A major story following the 2018 midterm elections is the impressive gains women made in the U.S. Congress and in state races. National media, however, has largely overlooked key victories for women running for local office. For example, in Harris County in Texas, 17 African-American women won their races for local judgeships. Here in Idaho, voters elected two women to the 3-member Ada County Commission. It appears to be the first time women will hold a majority of seats on the Ada County Commission. Ada County includes Boise, the state capital and one of the fastest growing metro areas in the country. Read More

Thorny Property Politics: Cook County’s 2018 Democratic Primary for Assessor

October 30, 2018 // 1 Comment

By Amanda Kass | Assessors play an important role in the property tax process in the United States. A homeowner’s taxes are based on the estimated value of their home, and that estimate is made by the assessor. If an assessor over- or under-values a property, then the homeowner will be over- or under-taxed. Over-taxation can produce a cascade of negative consequences, including foreclosure for failure to pay property taxes, while cities want to maintain high collection rates. Read More

Jerusalem: The City Not Allowed To Be a City

October 26, 2018 // 0 Comments

By Michael Ziv-Kenet and Noga Keidar | All of Israel’s largest cities, including Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Beer-Sheva, will hold state-wide local elections on October 30. These elections will be mostly decided on traditional urban issues like public transport, plans for urban development, as well as on candidates’ charisma and basis of supporters. In Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, however, urban affairs have taken only a marginal space in the debate – instead, national politics’ embeddedness in the election sweeps a side almost any other issue. Read More

Making (Political) Magic in Anaheim

October 18, 2018 // 0 Comments

By Peter F. Burns Jr. and Matthew O. Thomas | For the past decade, the theme of Disney vs the neighborhoods has dominated Anaheim politics, and this conflict is central to the city’s 2018 elections.  When voters go to the polls in November, they will select a new mayor for the first time in eight years, elect three city council members as part of the city’s new district-election format, and decide on a local living wage referendum, which may or may not eventually apply to Disney. Read More

Urban Governance in the Suburbs: Politics in In-Between Places

October 12, 2018 // 0 Comments

By Hannah Lebovits | Much of our understanding of urban politics and local governance is shaped by a focus on large central cities. Yet, many US residents don’t live in these urban spaces. In fact, a report from the Brookings Institute, notes that the distribution of population in many MSAs is significantly dispersed between the central city and suburbs. And while research on local elections and political behavior is growing, literature on politics in suburban cities remains underdeveloped. Read More

Progressive Local Voters in the U.S. South: Athens, Georgia in 2018

October 8, 2018 // 0 Comments

By Simon Williamson | In May 2018, Athens-Clark County, the home of the University of Georgia, local elections took place alongside gubernatorial and other statewide office primaries, in which  the mayor’s office and five seats on the 10-member unified county commission were up for their regular four-year terms, along with half the schoolboard and two judgeships. Although Athens-Clarke County is ideologically liberal, the 2014 elections for these offices saw moderate and right-leaning candidates win these non-partisan offices. Read More

Chicago’s 2019 Elections and The Legacy of Rahm Emanuel

October 1, 2018 // 0 Comments

By Thomas Ogorzalek and Jaime Domínguez | Incumbent Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel’s recent announcement that he will not seek re-election for a third term (the election is in February 2019, with a possible run-off in April) was an earthquake that shook the city’s political landscape. Despite fairly low approval ratings, Emanuel was still the front-runner in a field in which none of the dozen declared challengers had been elected to major office. Since the announcement, many prominent Chicago pols have explored their options, and the pool of candidates is almost certain to change before the November 26 filing deadline. Chicago’s politics sit at a crossroads, as a relatively progressive and prosperous metropolis in a region where urban crisis and creeping conservative drift have been more common lately. Read More