The Division of Politics and Economics invites the CGU community to attend this week’s Tuesday Lunch Talk featuring Evan Crawford, University of San Diego. Lunch will be provided.
Evan Crawford is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of San Diego. His research interests include elections and voting behavior, state and local politics, educational policy, and experimental methods. His most recent research addresses the extent to which the presence of party labels on the ballot affect voter participation, electoral competition, and representation at the local level. From 2012-2016 he was a interdisciplinary training program pre-doctoral fellow supported by the Institute for Educational Sciences. In 2017-2018 he was a visiting scholar at Reed College where he directed the 2018 Democracy Fund/Reed College Survey of Local Election Officials. His research has appeared in Political Research Quarterly, and has been featured in Education Next and The Washington Post. He received PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (May 2018).
Talk title: The partisan competition over partisan competition: electoral contestation at the local level
In recent years several state governments have considered legislation mandating changes to how local elections are conducted. The majority of these proposals include a requirement that local elections drop nonpartisan ballots and require candidates to run as partisans. The recent activity of these “party defenders” has prompted a renewal of progressive-era debates surrounding the merits of nonpartisan ballots as a means to elect local leaders. A central tenet of the nonpartisan reformers is that much of local government is administrative and inherently apolitical. This is certainly the view of contemporary advocates seeking to maintain their local elections as nonpartisan contests. Nonpartisan reformers believe that the job of the local government should not be entangled with partisan politics. Broadly speaking, party defenders reject the premise articulate by nonpartisan reformers. Where reformers see party labels as providing a crutch to voters who might be uninformed about local candidates and issues, party defenders see valuable information for voters that are relevant to the office that candidates seek. Both camps argue that the public is with them on this issue yet there is little empirical evidence to cite when it comes to the public’s views on local elections or the actual electoral consequences of these different systems. I use new survey data from the 2018 CCES to reveal the public’s attitudes as they relate to elections for various local offices. I place this new data in the context of the legislative landscape nationwide and local election results from multiple states.
More information about the DPE Tuesday Talk Series can be found here.