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Campaign Opportunities

This post will include any known upcoming campaign opportunities for you to get involved with. Remember, you will need to complete 5 hours b...

Friday, September 30, 2016

Flaws & Reforms of the Electoral College

Yesterday, you read about the arguments both for and against the Electoral College.

Today, you will have the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and skills as you try to win in the Electoral College.

iCivics Win the White House: A pretty comprehensive game that takes you through the presidential race. Create an account to be able to save your progress and compete against friends.

  • Register and join our class (GatesAPGOV 1617). The class code is Stone38882. Once you are registered and enrolled in the class, click on Assignments and there should be a link for Win the White House.
  • Follow the instructions and try to win the presidency.
  • The first (nomination) stage is selecting your candidate, party, and issues. Make sure you understand the positions that your candidate is taking on the issues. It will be important to match them up on the campaign trail and take the correct stand. You will also need to understand them during your debate in the nomination stage.
  • The second stage is the general election campaign. You will need to fundraise each round and then use the money for polling, media events, or campaign ads. 
  • Make sure to pay attention to polling numbers and momentum. Campaign in the states that you have a chance of winning, but don't neglect the states where you have a lead.
  • Good luck! There will be a prize for the student who does the best!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Arguments in Favor & Against the Electoral College

HW due Friday: Read 279-295 and take the reading quiz.

As a continuation of our examination of the Electoral College, today you are going to look at some of the arguments both for and against keeping this system of electing our president. Please read the articles below and watch the videos. As you read and watch the videos, record the arguments (both for and against) in a t-chart in your notes. You should have a minimum of 4-5 points for each side.


Slate.com: Defending the Electoral College

Ten Reasons Why the Electoral College is a Problem

LA Times: The Founders' Choice: The Electoral College

Politico: Electoral College Keeps Elections Fair

Forbes: It's Time to Abolish the Electoral College


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Electoral College: Criticisms & Proposed Reforms

HW due Friday: Read 279-295 and take the reading quiz.

The Electoral College is frequently criticized for its cumbersome method of electing the president. Its main flaw is that it is possible to win the popular vote, but still lose in the Electoral College (just ask Al Gore), but there are a number of other problems with the EC. There are also various proposed reforms to try and remedy or abolish the Electoral College. Today, we will look at these flaws and proposed reforms.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Electoral College

HW due Tuesday: Read 273-279 in Janda and take the reading quiz.

The Electoral College is probably the least understood aspect of the American political system and is often criticized for its archaic rules and numerous flaws. Today, you will be examining this process and trying to make sense of how it operates. Please answer these questions using the resources/links below, or others that you find on your own. Your goal is to become an expert on the Electoral College. We will also be evaluating whether or not to keep, modify, or eliminate the Electoral College.

US Archives on Electoral College

How The Electoral College Works

History Channel: Electoral College

US Constitution: Electoral College

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Race to the White House: Primaries, Caucuses, and Conventions!

HW for Wednesday: Read 260-273 and take the reading quiz (same as yesterday)

This presidential election cycle started with five candidates for the Democratic Party nomination and more than three times that many for the Republican nomination. The question for today is: How did we get here? Meaning, how do the parties determine their party's nominee for the president?

The nomination process is a long and confusing series of elections run by the states. As a result of individual decisions made by the states (part of federalism) and differences in party apparatus, there is no centralized answer to the question. Today, we will attempt to understand (as best we can) the general formula for the presidential nominating process

Task #1: Read Everything You Need to Know About How the Presidential Primary Works and OpenStax: The Presidential Selection Process (just the Selecting the Candidate part)

After reading (or during reading), please answer the following questions in your notes:
1. What is the difference between a primary and a caucus? What does Missouri use?
2. Why are New Hampshire and Iowa so important in the nomination process?
3. What is "front-loading"? How are the political parties trying to limit it?
4. How is the presidential selection process different today than it was in the 19th century? How has that change affected the party nominees?

Task #2: Primary elections and the general election are two different types of elections. Look at this infographic on  primary voters vs. the general election (NY Times Infographic) and explain the significant difference and how this can impact campaign strategy for the general election.

Task #3: Review this PowerPoint including the videos on the presidential selection process.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Incumbency Advantage: Why Do We Keep Electing the Same Members Back to Congress?

HW due Tuesday: Read 260-273 and take the reading quiz.

Campaigns & Elections Unit: Day One--Incumbency Advantage

The approval rating for Congress is currently at 13%. Despite this low number, most members of Congress (typically over 90%) will be re-elected next year. How is this possible?

Key Term: Incumbent=the current office holder seeking reelection.

Additional Readings:

Boundless: The Power of Incumbency

The Advantages of Incumbency in Congressional Elections

Why Incumbents Rarely Lose

People Hate Congress. But Most Incumbents Get Re-elected. What Gives?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Quiz Day!

Today is your first quiz, over public opinion, political ideology, and political participation. Click on this link to begin your quiz. Please close out of any other windows/tabs and maximize your screen. Remember to put your hour number before your last name.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Quiz Tomorrow

Homework for Thursday: Study for your quiz over public opinion, political ideology, and political participation. I would review your notes, look over the posts, and study the identification terms.

Today's activity: Class discussion on automatic voter registration, compulsory voting, and voter id laws.

Governor Nixon's Veto on HB 1631 (Voter ID Law)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Voter ID Laws

HW due Wednesday: Read 205-224 and take the reading quiz.

Today we are looking at whether or not the recent trend of states adopting voter ID laws are more likely to prevent voter fraud or result in decreased voting among certain segments of our society. 

For the first part of class, please read the following articles on Voter ID laws and watch the videos. Feel free to conduct your own research if you finish early. Please take note of the main arguments both for and against voter ID laws.

The last half of class we will discuss/debate the whether or not voter ID laws are a good idea.

As November Approaches, Courts Deal Series of Blows to Voter ID Laws

Are Voter ID Laws Constitutional? And Are They a Good Idea?

Voter ID Would Protect Voter's Rights, Not Inhibit Them

Voter ID Battle Shifts to Kansas

good overview of the states with voter ID laws and their requirements.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Campaign Opportunities

This post will include any known upcoming campaign opportunities for you to get involved with. Remember, you will need to complete 5 hours before the election.

***Campaign Volunteer Log***
(print out and bring with you to record your hours)

Upcoming Democratic Candidates Opportunities (ongoing)
  1. If you're in Saint Louis, Kansas City, or Columbia, sign up for a shift at a Hillary for Missouri phone bank and bring a friend (or three) with you. You can sign up for phone banks by going to www.HillaryClinton.com/events and putting in your city. I've also provided a contact list for our offices below.
  2. If you're not able to make it to a campaign office, use our virtual phone bank system to make some calls from home: https://www.openvpb.com/vpb_bycode/1D3902O-4613 (code is 1D3902O-4613). It's a very user-friendly system and we instantly get the results, so it's incredibly helpful. This link will last through November 1st, at which point I will send out a new link.
  3. If calling people isn't your thing, grab a walk packet and knock on some doors with the Koster campaign! You can find the closest office by going to http://chriskoster.com/join/.
My ask to you is to please complete at least one shift of one of the above options before (or on) Election Day, and to recruit two other people to join you. 

As we near Election Day, here are a couple things to note:
  • Any voter who needs a ride to vote can call 1-844-MO1-VOTE. The people monitoring this line will gather the voter's name, phone number, address, and requested time of pickup.
  • If you have questions about voting (ID requirements, hours, absentee voting, etc), please go to www.iwillvote.com
Finally, as promised, a list of upcoming phone banks, as well as contact info and hours for our offices:

Upcoming Phone Banks
Reminder: We make phone calls every day. This is by no means a complete list of opportunities. Please check out www.hillaryclinton.com/events for a complete list.

GOTV for Hillary Phone Banks
Every office will be open and making calls 9am-9pm. Please visit www.HillaryClinton.com/events to RSVP for a shift.

Election Day Phone Banks

Hillary for Missouri Office Information

Kansas City Office
(Entrance is in back. Please call to be let in.)
Hours: M-F 12pm-8:30pm; Sat & Sun 12pm-6pm
Phone Bank Hours: M-F 12:00pm-8:30pm; Sat & Sun 12pm-6pm

Kevin Corlew (10/27)
Could you let your students know we have an event planned tomorrow night (October 27) to address and stuff envelopes. We will meet from 5:30-8:30 at the Clay County Republican Headquarters -8002 North Oak Trafficway KCMO 64118. Please have your students send me an email to RSVP. Due to space limitations I can only take 25-30 participants. ashley@kevincorlew.com

Also, can you announce that our November 1st phone bank is full, but 
we do have two Super Saturdays left. October 29 and November 1st we will have two shifts each day the first being from 9:30-12:30 and the second from 1:30-4:30. We will meet at the Line Creek Community Center 5940 NW Waukomis Dr, Kansas City, MO 64151. We will be doing a "lit drop" which is going door-to-door and leaving out campaign literature in doors. 

Kevin Corlew (upcoming)

Unfortunately all of my slots for phone banking are full tonight (Oct. 18). We do have one more phone bank on November 1st and two Super Saturdays (October 29th and November 5th)-Super Saturdays are a quick way to get in your hours. You will be with a group of people and putting our campaign pieces on doors of our constituents. Please email Ashley Burke (ashley@kevincorlew.com) for more information and to RSVP.

Canvassing for Mark Ellebracht (Oct. 21)
Mark Ellebracht’s campaign (Democrat running for State Representative) will be hosting a canvass/lit drop on Friday – since there is no school, I thought it’d be a good opportunity for students. We’re asking our volunteers to meet at the UAW hall at 10am. It’s located at 8040 US 69 Hwy, Pleasant Valley, MO. Just as an FYI, the UAW does not permit foreign cars in their lot, so anyone with a foreign car would need to park in the bank parking lot next door.

Students will be grouped in teams of 3-4 with UAW members so that students aren’t going out by themselves. Since it’s a lit drop, we aren’t expecting students to talk to voters so it should be really easy for them.

If you have any students that would be interested, please have them email me so I know how many students to expect. Thanks!

Phone Banking for Kevin Corlew (Oct. 4)
We have another call night on October 4 at Olsson and Associates, the address is 1251 Northwest Briarcliff Parkway suite 50, Kansas City, MO 64116, from 6:00-8:30. There will be pizza again! 

And finally, the first Super Saturday of the general election will be October 8We will meet at the Line Creek Community Center, 5940 NW Waukomis Dr. Kansas City, Mo 6415 and canvass neighborhoods doing lit drops. We will have two shifts: 9:30-12:30 and then 1:30-4:30. We can provide lunch after/before each shift. 

Have them RSVP to me again so we can get a pizza count. 
Ashley Burke (ashley@kevincorlew.com)

Gladfest Parade (Saturday, Oct. 1)

Kevin Corlew
We will be in the Gladfest parade with coming Saturday (October 1) if they are looking for a couple more volunteer hours and would like to walk with us. We have candy, and frisbees to hand out to the crowd. We will be lining up between 9:00-9:30am at Shady Lane and North Oak in Gladstone. They should be done by 12:00 at the very latest. We ask that they wear a dark grey, red, white, or blue shirt (although we may have extra campaign shirts they can wear for the morning). Please have anyone interested email (ashley@kevincorlew.com) to RSVP so we can get a head count. Thanks again!

Ashley Burke

Campaign Manager

Fall Festival Opportunities (Democratic Party)

Liberty Festival Parade walkers, (shirts provided at staging area)

Sandy Van Wagner for House of Representatives 12   

Debbie Gwin incumbent Clay County Public Administrator  

Mark Ellebracht    Mo House 17 (our district)
There is a parade this Saturday, and we’d love to have students help us out if anyone is interested and available. Here are some details about the parade that you might be able to share with your class:

Date:                                   Saturday, September 24, 2016
Parade Line-Up:                Begins at 9:30am (Kansas Ave between Westowne Office complex and Heritage Middle School)
Parade Start:                     11:00am (Kansas Ave and Fairview)

The Ellebracht volunteers will be in section 42. We won’t have shirts or stickers that say “Mark Ellebracht” but we will have signs, handouts, and probably candy. Some volunteers will be wearing United Autoworkers (UAW) shirts to show union support for Mark and there may be extras, but the most important thing is to have a large presence of people to carry large signs.

I will try to be there around 9:30am, but volunteers probably won’t need to be in line with us until 10:30am (10:45am at the latest) – I plan to brief the entire group 10-15 minutes before the parade starts. 
-Patrick D. Shami <patrick@tjpstrategies.com>

Work the Booth for Democratic Candidates:
We will be the 5th booth down from the intersection of Kansas & Missouri, south side of the street.  Booth # 312  

Kids can work 2-hour shifts for credit.  Open till 9:00 pm. Friday and 9 - 9:00 Saturday and I think it's 1:00 - 4:00 Sunday.  Someone (adult) will be with them.  They need to call or text me so I can put them on the schedule; don't want them all at once!!  

Donna Cushman
CCDCC - Coordinator
Clay County Democratic Central Committee
PO Box 12594  NKC MO   64116
816-668-8273 cell
816-455-VOTE (8683) office


Ongoing Democratic Canvassing for Jason Kander and Chris Koster

Clay County Democratic HQ
Antioch Annex
5416 NE Antioch Rd
Kansas City, MO  64119
(next to Bojo’s in the strip mall across from the Antioch Shopping Center)

Canvassing is the best way to get voters engaged in this election cycle. It’s an easy and fun way to meet people, make a difference, be a part of this election cycle, and learn about how campaigns function!

Students can earn 5 hours by finishing two packets with a partner, or one packet alone.  This would equal approx. 50 total doors knocked.  In other words, one packet contains approx. 50 doors, which you can split with a partner or complete by yourself. You must complete the packet(s) given to you in order to receive credit.

Available times are Saturday at 10:00, and Sunday at 4:00.  Additional times are available if necessary, by calling David at 240-994-0207. The office is open from 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., except for Friday and Saturday, when it closes at 6:00 p.m. or later by appointment. (You can also talk to Maddi VanDyne at North)

We always have snacks and plenty of water on hand for our volunteers, as we value our canvassers, and appreciate all of their efforts in our campaign.  We would love to see you!!!

Tuesday, September 20th: Phone Banking for Kevin Corlew

Just wanted to let you know we have a phone bank tomorrow night if any of your students are interested. Below are the details: 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 from 6:00 to 8:30 PM at Re/Max Results (7020 NW 83 Terrace, Kansas City, MO 64152). We will have pizza and snacks.

We ask that they let us know so that we have enough pizza. They can email me at ashley@kevincorlew.com if they are interested. We also ask that they please bring a smart phone, tablet, or computer as our call lists are through an online database. 

Phones for Hillary
Every Wednesday from 2:00-6:00pm at the Clay County Democratic HQ (on Antioch). Must bring your own phone.

Kevin Corlew, Republican candidate for MO House District 14

We have a lot of opportunities for the kid's to volunteer below are some upcoming dates- 

October 1st: 9:30-11:00ish walk/handout candy at the Gladdest parade
October 8th, 29th, and November 5: all day Super Saturday - canvas neighborhoods/ literature drop 
October 18th and November 1st: Call Nights- we will do phone banking to reach out to our supporters asking them to remember to vote 

Those are our solid dates for events coming up, but we are also ALWAYS looking for people to knock doors with Kevin. During the week in the evenings and on the weekends. Monday through Friday we usually start about 5:00 and go until dark which is about 8:00 right now. Saturday's 9:30-5:00 and Sunday's depend on the time of the Chiefs' games as we don't want to bother people while the game is on. 

If there are students that aren't able to do any of the scheduled events and aren't comfortable knocking doors with Kevin we also can have them do literature drops which is basically canvassing neighborhoods and putting our push pieces in people's doors. They can do this at their own convenience.    

Sandy Van Wagner,  Democratic candidate for Mo House District 12

Need walkers in the Jesse James Parade in Kearney, MO on Saturday, September 17th. Parade line up will be at 9:00 am parade starts at 10:00 am. All should be done by11:00 am. Wear cowboy attire, union shirts such as UAW or will have Sandy campaign shirts for participants. Families, strollers, wagons welcome. Will be handing out candy and candidate fliers. For more information email sandyvanwagner@gmail.com or text or call Me at 816-803-5450.

2nd request: need folks for photo shoot for campaign literature. Sunday September 18. Will be shooting downtown Smithville, at Smithville High School and Kearney downtown. we will begin about 4:30 pm. Regular attire. Contact info the same as above.

We need good crowds for both events.

How to Increase Voter Turnout

HW due Wednesday: Read 205-224 and take the reading quiz.

Question of the Day: Is voting a right, a privilege, or an obligation?

Task #1: How can we increase voter turnout in the United States? Brainstorm possible reforms to help increase voter turnout.

Automatic Registration?
Oregon and California became the first two states to automatically register people to vote when they renew their driver's license. Citizens may opt out, but the government's attempt to take the initiative and register all eligible voters is expected to dramatically increase the number of registered voters. However, what effect it has on voter turnout remains to be seen.

NPR: California Becomes the 2nd State to Automatically Register Voters

Brennan Center: The Case for Automatic Voter Registration

Compulsory Voting?

Many of the countries that have high voter turnout rate also have compulsory voting--non-voters may be fined for not showing up on election day. Recently, President Obama suggested compulsory votingas a way to balance out the influence of big money in the election process.

Here are a few more articles about the proposed compulsory voting:

Sorry, Obama: Compulsory Voting is a Terrible Idea

A Feasible Roadmap to Compulsory Voting

Obama suggests making it mandatory to vote. That would change very little.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Voter Turnout in the US

Questions to Consider:
1. How does the voter turnout rate in the US compare to other countries?
2. What are some reasons for this discrepancy?
3. Should voter registration be automatic?
4. Should the US adopt compulsory voting?

Washington Post: Proof that the US Voter Turnout Rate is Embarrassing

Here's a chart from the Pew Research Center's article, US Voter Turnout Trails Most Developed Countries.

Automatic Registration?
Oregon and California became the first two states to automatically register people to vote when they renew their driver's license. Citizens may opt out, but the government's attempt to take the initiative and register all eligible voters is expected to dramatically increase the number of registered voters. However, what effect it has on voter turnout remains to be seen.

NPR: California Becomes the 2nd State to Automatically Register Voters

Brennan Center: Automatic Voter Registration Campaign

Compulsory Voting?

Many of the countries that have high voter turnout rate also have compulsory voting--non-voters may be fined for not showing up on election day. Recently, President Obama suggested compulsory voting as a way to balance out the influence of big money in the election process.

Here are a few more articles about the proposed compulsory voting:

Sorry, Obama: Compulsory Voting is a Terrible Idea

A Feasible Roadmap to Compulsory Voting

Obama suggests making it mandatory to vote. That would change very little.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Expansion of the Electorate & Who Votes in the US?

Questions to Consider:
1. What percentage of the American public could vote in 1790? 
2. How has the right to vote expanded over time? 
3. Who is more likely to engage in political participation? How does that affect who is elected and government policies?

Task #1:

Despite claims of being a democracy, very few people could vote in the early days of the United States. Click this LINK to see how the right to vote has gradually expanded over the past 225 years. In your notes, list how each of the following amendments changed voting rights:


Which of these amendments do you think was the most significant in impacting voting rights and elections? Explain your answer.

Task #2: Read the two article below and answer the following questions:

1. Explain two factors that influence overall voter turnout rates.
2. Describe how each of the following demographic features affects voter turnout:

  • Age
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Socioeconomic Status (SES)
3. How do the above differences influence government policy and campaign strategy?

Article: What Affects Voter Turnout Rates
Article: Census Data Finds Who Votes, and Who Doesn't

Videos for Review:

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Types of Participation: Conventional vs. Nonconventional

HW due Thursday: Read 192-205 in Janda and take the reading quiz.

Task #1: Brainstorm as many forms of political participation as you can think of.

What's the difference between conventional and nonconventional participation?

Task #2: Categorize the different forms of political participation that we came up with into either conventional or nonconventional participation.

Political Participation Assignment

Example of nonconventional participation:

Friday, September 2, 2016

How Does Public Opinion Shape Public Policy?

Task #1: Questions to consider:

1. Which branch should be most responsive to public opinion--legislative, executive, or judicial? Why? Which one should be least responsive to public opinion?

2. Which branch is most responsible for shaping public opinion? How is this branch able to do so?

3. Which branch is most likely to be limited by public opinion? Why?

4. Look at the chart below. What events impacted Bush's approval ratings? How do approval ratings impact his ability to govern?

Task #2: Read one of the two articles below on the effects of public opinion on the Supreme Court and the Presidency.

Task #3: Identification Terms-check out the identification terms for this unit. For terms you are unfamiliar with, look up the definitions online. Create a Quizlet set to review.

A few videos: