GOVT 220 Becoming an Informed Voter

Becoming an Informed Voter – Researching Your Congressional Delegation

The research paper has 2 steps. First, you will analyze the background of your congressional district and your U.S. Representative. Second, you will analyze the political background of your state and 1 of your U.S. Senators. You may choose which senator to study; however, if one senator is newly elected and does not have interest group ratings, study the other one. Note that these are United States Representatives and Senators. Do not use members of your state legislature.

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Begin by reviewing the presentation on “Becoming an Informed Voter.” The example of Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia is used. If you live in the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia, you will have to adopt another Virginia congressional district as your temporary home and write about that one, since you have already been given some of the information on Bob Goodlatte. If you have a newly elected representative who has not yet received interest group ratings, get the interest group ratings of a representative from a neighboring district. After reviewing the presentation, the first part will deal with your congressional district and congressman; the second part will deal with your state and senator. As explained in the presentation, interest group scores may be found at Vote Smart

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Use the Course Style Guidelines document to properly format this essay as you will be required to use formal writing with level 1, 2, and 3 headings as necessary to address and elaborate on each of the following questions in paragraph form:

  • What is the recent political history of your district and state?
  • How has your state and congressional district voted in recent presidential and congressional elections?

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  • Can your district or state be considered to be leaning Republican or Democrat?
  • Are the political parties relatively even, or does on party dominate the elections?
  • Does your district have a long tradition of supporting one party, or has it been changing in recent years?
  • How did your representative and senator come to power? (Thoroughly describe their backgrounds.)
  • How do the interest groups (ADA, ACLU, ACU, CC or FRC) rate your representative and senator? (Note: If the Christian Coalition score is not available, you may substitute the Family Research Council score. Include the exact scores from each of these groups. The rationale for this is explained in the presentation.)
  • Based on these ratings, would you classify your representative and senator as conservative or liberal? Justify your answer.
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