Michigan Townhalls

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#915
I have found two excellent voter guides run by the press. They have very similar formats: candidates provide biographical information and answers for ~20 questions. I include a list of their questions below, for two recent US Congress races.

Both guides have provisions to view the answers of selected competing candidates side-by-side in your browser. There are probably other similar voter guides out there, but I was not able to find them.

One voter guide is run by a consortium of Michigan papers and covers all Michigan electoral districts. I examined the 2016 State House general election to gauge participation and found this was 59% for Democratic candidates and 35% for Republican ones. Incumbency did not significantly affect Democrat participation levels, however with incumbency Republican participation dropped down from 41% to 22%. I have not yet measured participation levels for federal office candidates.

The second guide is run by The Dallas News and covers North Texas districts. They cite a participation level of 86% for their 2018 Primary guide; they did not break this figure down by party or incumbency.

Michigan Voter Guide, Michigan US House of Representatives Questions, 2016 General Election

  1. Candidate information. Items: name, party affiliation, profession, age, family, vehicles owned, and campaign hyperlinks. Expanded sections: education, professional experience, political experience.
  2. Do you support and will you appear at campaign events with your party’s presidential nominee?
  3. How would you rate the State of Michigan's response to the Flint water crisis? Explain.
  4. How would you rate the federal government’s response to the Flint water crisis? Explain.
  5. Should Congress provide funding to help Flint, and other cities across the U.S., reduce and eventually eliminate lead service lines?
  6. Do you support deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Do they help create jobs in the U.S.? Why or why not?
  7. What do you think needs to be done to make the U.S. tax code fairer?
  8. Do you think Obamacare should be augmented or replaced? How would you change it? What would you replace it with?
  9. Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony? If so, please explain.
  10. Have you ever filed for personal bankruptcy? If so, please explain.
  11. What specifically would you do to help colleges control the cost of tuition?
  12. The U.S., and Michigan specifically, has long been a place of refuge for people displaced by wars and acts of terror. Should it remain so, especially with regard to refugees from Iraq, Syria and the Middle East?
  13. Would you support a Constitutional amendment repealing Citizens United?
  14. If an American auto company wants to open a plant in another country in order to reduce costs and increase its competitiveness worldwide, should it be able to do so? Should it have to pay additional taxes or fees for work performed overseas?
  15. Where should the U.S. concentrate its job creation efforts?
  16. Should the U.S. Senate confirm a Supreme Court Justice before a new president takes office? If not, why not?
  17. What is the role of Congress when its majority sits in political opposition to the president?
  18. Has the relationship between Congress and the president lost the respect it ought to have during the last two terms? If so, how would you restore it?
  19. How effective has the Republican majority in the House been in exercising the House’s constitutional role in the federal government?
  20. Do you believe income inequality is a problem in America? If so, what would you do about it?
  21. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Racial inequality continues to be a serious problem in America.
  22. If you agree, what would you do about it? If you disagree, explain why.
  23. Do you support a moratorium on the deportation of undocumented immigrants whose children were born in the United States?
  24. Do you favor the deportation of all undocumented immigrants?
  25. Do you support legislation to reform the decennial redistricting process by placing it in the hands of in the hands of a non-partisan agency?
  26. How would you reduce the number of firearm-related injuries and deaths in the U.S.?
  27. As more boomers enter retirement, the nation faces critical shortages in eldercare services and rapidly rising levels of poverty among older Americans. What should Congress do about it?

Dallas News Voter Guide, US House of Representatives Questions, 2018 Primary Election

  1. Age and contact information?
  2. Social media links?
  3. Occupation/main source of income?
  4. Education (include all degrees)?
  5. Highlights of current civic involvement/accomplishment?
  6. Highlights of past civic involvement/accomplishment?
  7. Previous public offices sought or held?
  8. How much funding have you raised for your campaign?
  9. Who are your top three contributors?
  10. Have you ever been arrested or involved in any criminal proceedings? If so, please explain:
  11. Have you ever been involved in any civil lawsuits or declared personal or professional bankruptcy? If so, please explain:
  12. What is an example of how you led a team or group toward achieving an important goal?
  13. Why are you running for this office?
  14. Why should voters choose you over your opponent?
  15. Length of residency in Texas and, if applicable, your district:
  16. What political leader do you most admire and why?
  17. What do you make of President Donald Trump's style and agenda? Do you view him as an ally, a breath of fresh air in a capital that needs to be shaken up? Or as volatile, dangerous and out of his depth? Or something in between? What would your role be in working with or against him?
  18. The gap between the rich and the poor in America is widening. Is this a problem for the country, and if so what should Congress do about it? What action should Congress take, if any?
  19. What is the greatest threat to American security, and how should America respond? What specifically should Congress do to help?
  20. What changes should be made to U.S. trade policy?
  21. How should the next Congress address illegal immigration? Please be specific about the millions of people in this country illegally.
  22. Would you support or oppose the full repeal of all provisions of the Affordable Care Act?
  23. Congress writes the budget for the United States. What is one area that Congress should invest much more heavily in, and why? What should we be spending much less on?
  24. What action, if any, should Congress take in response to mass killings involving firearms?
  25. The Social Security fund that pays most retiree benefits will be insolvent within a generation. What steps should Congress take to keep it in the black? Please be specific about who would be affected and how soon.
  26. The Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2015. Has that had a positive or negative impact on America since then, and is there anything that Congress should do either in response or to further support gay rights?
  27. What is your view on the science of man-made climate change? Do you support action to reduce the output of greenhouse gases? If so, what steps do you favor?
  28. When the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, many lawmakers on both sides vowed to update the law. That hasn't happened. Should Congress strengthen the existing Voting Rights Act, and if so how?