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Category: Politics - The Bank Teller

2017 Election Schedule

For those of you who thought 2017 was an “off” election year, think again. Elections are scheduled in forty-five states. Mostly, these are local or municipal elections in villages, towns, boroughs, and cities. However, Virginia and New Jersey are holding regularly-scheduled gubernatorial and state legislative elections, and – to date – seven state legislative seats have been filled through “special” elections and another twenty-one elections (not including runoffs) are scheduled in twelve states.

The electorate must pay special attention to election dates as they vary by office and municipality – even within the same state. Florida is probably the best example, with elections ranging from January to December. Idaho has three primary days, March 14, May 16 and August 29, covering a variety of races including school boards, mayoral and municipal elections.

Candidates intending to run for office have similar confusing waters to navigate. For example, there are three filing deadlines in New Mexico depending on the office one intends to seek. At first glance, the Georgia’s 2017 filing process appears fairly straightforward, according to the calendar posted on Georgia’s Secretary of State website. Georgia’s filing – or “qualifying” – period for municipal, nonpartisan candidates is August 21-25, 2017 (with a September 1 deadline for “write-in” candidates). However, according to state statute, each municipal election official designates independently the respective qualifying period, “which shall be no less than three days and no more than five days” during the range listed above.

PoliticalBank’s 2017 calendar can be a resource for the electorate and candidates curious about upcoming elections. While we update the calendar regularly, candidates and voters should check with their local election official to be sure a deadline does not come and go.

The 2017 elections may not be the dominant news story of the year; but the candidates elected comprise the backbone of civic government. Decisions made at the local level affect directly residents’ quality of life. This is where we come in; candidates and voters alike are invited to use PoliticalBank.com as a resource to improve transparency and make informed decisions at the local level.

We do the heavy lifting. If you’re a candidate, search your name, claim your profile and spread your message. If you don’t find your profile, create one. Voters can search for candidates by name, demographic, location or issue. Suggest issues to candidates to see where they stand.

PoliticalBank understands the methodology for candidates getting elected to political office is broken. But, we’re dedicated to improving the process for everyone who cares about making a difference in her or his community.




2016 Governor and Senate Races

When you go to the polls this November, will you be voting on your state’s governor or a senator? Take a look at our map above! Here’s a breakdown and some more details:

Both Governor & Senate – 9
Governor only – 3
Senate only – 24
Neither – 14

Congress

Every even-numbered year, 88% of Congress is up for election – all 435 House of Representative seats and a third of the Senate’s 100 seats. This year, the “third” is 34 seats; 2018 and 2020 will both see 33 Senate elections.

Governorships

As far as gubernatorial elections, 2016 is actually pretty light. Just 12 states will vote on a governor this year, compared to 38 in 2018. What about the other two states? Both Virginia and New Jersey’s gubernatorial elections happen to be in odd years; both of them will hold elections in 2017.

Due to retirement or term limits, 7 of the 12 states with elections this year will have a new governor, while the incumbents from the other 5 are running for re-election.




8 Ways to Participate in Politics

“We the people…” begins our Constitution. The founding principles of the United States were based on citizens’ civic engagement. However, getting involved in our democracy takes time and energy, and hey, who doesn’t already have enough on their plates these days?

Luckily, there’s a wide range of ways to participate in politics, from low to high effort. So rather than being a passive citizen, here are 8 ways you can have a voice.

1. Liking Something on Facebook

On social media, we all have a very simple way to voice our opinions on politics: a thumbs up, or on Twitter, a heart. This small act announces to the world what we think about something. And now, thanks to Facebook emotions, we have a multitude of ways to express ourselves! However, since liking and favoriting are so easy, they’re often called slactivism – activism’s lazy cousin. But maybe that thumbs up is a gateway to more actively taking a stand.

2. Signing a Petition

One name on a petition doesn’t accomplish much, but when you take the step to sign one, you’re showing your faith in the power of many voices in unison. Plus, you’re publicly attaching your name to a cause you care about, which takes a bit more hutzpah than liking something on Facebook. When petitions go viral, they can garner hundreds of thousands of signatures and spur real change. However, it’s pretty low-effort to sign a petition, thanks to the internet, so this democratic action is still pretty low on the spectrum.

3. Putting a Sticker on Your Car

Slapping a sticker on a vehicle seems like a small act, but for car purists, it can be a very meaningful step. Our cars are like an extension of ourselves, and considering how hard it is to remove sticker goo, it’s akin to getting a tattoo. (Maybe that’s why you still see Kerry or McCain stickers on the road…) The great thing about political car stickers, of course, is that they are highly visible as you traverse your corner of the world. When you’re at a red light, you can bet the guy in the SUV behind you is reading your message. And who knows? Maybe, just maybe, you’ll change his point of view. (But probably not.)

4. Writing Letters to/Calling Elected Representatives

You know you’re passionate about something when you feel compelled to write a letter or pick up the phone. While elected officials receive hundreds if not thousands of letters per day, words from constituents really are compelling. Especially if you take the time to write a thoughtful yet concise letter, your voice is more likely to be heard. There’s truth in the adage “the squeaky wheel gets the oil,” so reaching out to politicians is an effective way to have influence.

5. Participate in Rallies or Demonstrations

When you show up at a rally or demonstration, that means you took the effort to leave the house, brave the elements, and face the world to show your opinion. Bonus points if you make a sign! Of course, demonstrations are more effective when more people show up, but they can be very powerful in expressing public opinion, especially when they become big enough to attract the media’s attention.

6. Volunteering for OR contributing money to a party or candidate

We’re getting into the super dedicated realm! When you donate to a political party or candidate, you are putting your money where your mouth is. After all, they say “Money talks.” Even if you’re not donating a large portion of your paycheck, it is quite a leap to part with your hard-earned cash and give it to a cause or person you believe in.

If money talks, and time = money, then time talks, too. When you volunteer for a party or candidate, you are making a direct impact. After all, no candidate can win an election without help from other people. Whether you’re making calls, going door to door, entering voter data, or delivering yard signs, these tasks are a labor of love. You will be amazed at just how many different ways you can use your time and skills to help the candidate you support.

7. Attend a Meeting on Local Affairs

Especially during presidential campaign years, local politics can get overlooked, but your immediate community is where you can have the largest impact. We’re not sure anyone would call attending a town meeting “fun,” but when you take time out of your day or evening to participate and share your opinion, you’re showing that you really care about your community. Our system depends on people who are passionate enough to solve problems and make the world a better place.

8. Vote!

While President Obama is right – there ARE many things that are more difficult than registering to vote – it still takes time and effort not just to register but to actually get out to the polls. Otherwise, wouldn’t American voter turnout be 100% rather than dismally lagging behind other democracies? Even during this primary season, voters in some states faced many obstacles and long lines. So when you take time to research the candidates and issues (PoliticalBank can help!) and cast an educated ballot, well, you have just achieved the pinnacle of democracy. No matter who you are, someone before you fought hard for your right to vote, and when you exercise that right, you are making your voice count.

Main photo credit: Oldpicz




Presidential Candidate Google Image Results

If you were Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or Bernie Sanders, would you choose the top picture or bottom picture above to represent your campaign?

You may have heard about the recent controversy sparked by the Google image search for “three black teenagers” versus “three white teenagers.” The troubling results raise questions about racial bias in society, and whether that is reflected or perpetuated by the media.

Here at PoliticalBank, we stumbled across a similar phenomenon involving Google images for the people seeking to be the leader of the free world: the three main presidential candidates. Simply looking at the cascade of top results, it’s easy to spot some key differences in the nature of the photos of Hillary ClintonDonald Trump, and Bernie Sanders right off the bat. The first thing that struck us is how much more frequently Hillary is shown smiling in her photo results vs. her competitors. So we decided to dig in and quantify these differences.

The Methodology

We analyzed the top 100 Google image search results for each candidate as of June 17th, categorizing the portrayal of each photo into one of five options:

Angry

A clear expression of passionate outrage, usually indicated by the angle of the eyebrows.

anger

Serious

This is when the candidate has a pretty neutral expression, neither smiling nor upset and often when speaking or addressing an audience. Unfortunately, a photo taken at the wrong instant during a speech can capture a pretty weird face, so sometimes we had to choose between Serious and Unflattering, the last category.

serious

Smiling

A genuine smile, usually the kind that “reaches the eyes” and shows teeth.

smiling

Smirk

This category was sometimes difficult to distinguish from Smiling, and while it could also be interpreted as simply showing confidence, we felt that this expression usually has more of a negative connotation involving condescension, haughtiness, or pride.

smirk

Unflattering

This is a broad category that includes a whole range of expressions that don’t show the candidates in a positive light, from alarmed to kooky to disappointed to bored.

unflattering
Now, our study certainly wasn’t very scientific, but as a non-partisan organization, we strove to be as objective and fair as possible. If we were ever torn between two categories, we did a gut check purely on our reading of the expression. If debating between a positive or negative portrayal, we’d ask ourselves, “Would the candidate choose this as their main campaign photo?”

The Results

And here are the results of our study.
hillary-piedonald-pieBernie--pie

legend

Hillary Clinton

Clinton’s photos showed anger far less frequently than Trump or Sanders. Perhaps that’s a reflection of how Clinton chooses to carry herself. There are many studies that show that angry women are viewed less favorably than angry men. This may go hand-in-hand with why her Google results show so many more smiling photos. After all, part of her platform – albeit a small one – is that she is a grandmother. However, many of her photos in the unflattering category show her taking smiles a little too far.

Clinton’s results also have the highest number of smirking photos, which is not very surprising considering that many people do not trust her; in a May New York Times/CBS News poll, 64% of voters said she is not honest or trustworthy. Media outlets seem to reinforce this perception by choosing to display smirking photos of her.

Donald Trump

Of Donald Trump’s top 100 Google image results, only two of them involve smiles. Of course, Trump has never really gone for a friendly or cuddly image. He also has the highest percentage of serious photos, reflecting his platform of being tough as well as, perhaps, his efforts to overcome his perceived lack of presidential qualifications; in a May Washington Post-ABC News poll, 58% rated Trump as not qualified to be president. Also, he has a fair number of smirking photos, which belies how many Americans find him to be arrogant.

Trump also has the highest number of unflattering photos, which likely reflects his low favorability; a June Washington Post-ABC News poll showed his favorable-unfavorable split at 29%-70%. In the same poll, Clinton’s split was 43%-55%.

Bernie Sanders

The photos for Sanders include the highest comparative number of angry photos, which we thought was surprising. However, Sanders does have a reputation for having a pretty far out there ideology; a Google search for “Sanders socialist” returns about 12,300,000 results. He’s also faced criticism for not conceding victory to Clinton.

Sanders has the lowest number of smirking photos, which may reflect how he is viewed as the most trustworthy of all the candidates; a March survey by Critical Insights showed that 54% of likely voters found him to be trustworthy. He also has the lowest number of unflattering photos. However, most of the ones in that category show a disappointed expression, which media outlets may have used to illustrate that he is trailing behind Clinton in number of delegates.

In Conclusion

We thought this issue was worth exploring because the images that appear online not only reflect voters’ perceptions, but can also help shape them. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and the media has the power to emphasize or soften its reporting – or even data findings – based on the image they choose to accompany it.

Google image search results change a bit every day – want to see exactly which photos we analyzed and how we categorized them? Check it out, and tell us what you think via Twitter! Clinton, Trump, Sanders.

DISCLAIMER: With the exception of our pie charts, we claim zero ownership of any of the photos included in this post.




Presidential Scorecard

It’s finally here… a simple way to learn where the Presidential candidates stand on the issues. Consistent PoliticalBank’s philosophy, we are telling you what the candidates have said in their own words! No spin, no negativity… just their words – plain and simple.

Using software that’s available to any candidate or elected official who wants to establish a free profile, we created PoliticalBank.com profiles for each candidate still in the race for the White House.

Users have two options:

(1) Click on an issue below to compare the candidates’ respective positions; OR

(2) Click on any of the following candidates to review the candidate’s profile (in alphabetical order): Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump.

Each candidate’s “Quick Bio” uses the first 600 characters from the candidate’s official campaign website, edited only to reflect first-person phrasing (e.g., “his” is now “my”; “she” is now “I,” etc.) or to squeeze the last sentence into the 600 character limit.

Under “My Positions,” we used either verbatim text from the candidates’ official campaign websites or quotes straight from the candidates’ mouths. We carefully cited each position in the table below. However, we used our sole discretion to determine where the positions fall on our proprietary “Ideology Spectrum,” which ranges from “Strongly Oppose” to “Strongly Support.”

We will update the candidates’ positions throughout the remainder of the 2016 election cycle and add the eventual Vice Presidential candidates as well. We’ll also make sure to highlight when candidates’ positions “evolve” between now and the general election (November 8, 2016.)

After you play around for a little bit, we’d love to hear what you think: email us at Support@PoliticalBank.com.

Issue: Abortion

Whether one opposes or supports laws that permit the termination of a pregnancy, including awarding government funds to entities that perform abortion related services.

Clinton / NBC News, Meet the Press (April 3, 2016)
Cruz / The Kelly File (April 4, 2016)
Kasich / ABC News This Week (April 3, 2016)
Sanders / BernieSanders.com
Trump / DonaldJTrump.com

Issue: Civil Liberties & Civil Rights

Whether one opposes or supports laws that benefit minorities, including same-sex marriage and gender equality in the workplace.

Clinton / C-SPAN Town Hall (October 16, 2015)
Cruz / TedCruz.org
Kasich / CNN Debate (Feb 25, 2016); Fox News Debate (Aug. 6, 2015)
Sanders / BernieSanders.com
Trump / Fox News Sunday (January 31, 2016); NBC News, Today Show (April 21, 2016)

Issue: Energy Technology & Coal

Whether one opposes or supports laws that permit any form of energy supply, including solar, wind, nuclear, oil, natural gas, and coal.

Clinton / CNN Town Hall (March 13, 2016)
Cruz / TedCruz.org
Kasich / CNN Debate (March 10, 2016)
Sanders / Press Conference (November 4, 2015)
Trump / Rally in Louisville, KY (March 1, 2016)

Issue: Guns & Ammunition

Whether one opposes or supports laws that permit individuals to own, possess, and carry legal weapons.

Clinton / MSNBC, Hardball with Chris Mathews (January 5, 2016)
Cruz / TedCruz.org
Kasich / Interview with Wolf Blitzer (October 6, 2015)
Sanders / All In with Chris Hayes (October 1, 2015)
Trump / DonaldJTrump.com

Issue: Immigration & Deportation

Whether one opposes or supports laws allowing individuals from other countries to live and work in the United States, which includes policies like path to citizenship or amnesty, legal residency, “anchor babies,” the Dream Act, work visas, and deportation of those who are in the country illegally.

Clinton / The Rachel Maddow Show (March 10, 2016)
Cruz / TedCruz.org
Kasich / ABC News Debate (February 6, 2016)
Sanders / BernieSanders.com
Trump / Jimmy Kimmel Live (December 16, 2015)

Issue: Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness

Whether one opposes or supports laws that promote economic and individual liberties (i.e. personal freedom) with little or no support from or regulation by the government except what is required constitutionally.

Clinton / HillaryClinton.com
Cruz / Candidate Conversation 2016 with Robert George (Interview, November 25; Aired, November 29, 2015)
Kasich / Town Hall with Anderson Cooper (March 29, 2016)
Sanders / Killer Mike Interview (November 23, 2015)
Trump / DonaldJTrump.com

Issue: Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll

Whether one opposes or supports laws that increase personal liberties, even if it means allowing individuals to act in ways that are currently considered illegal.

Clinton / ABC’s Good Morning America (April 21, 2016)
Cruz / The Hugh Hewitt Show (April 16, 2015)
Kasich / Town Hall in Springfield, Mass. (February 28, 2016); The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (November 7, 2015)
Sanders / Jimmy Kimmel Live (October 21, 2105)
Trump / Fox News (November 8, 2015)

Issue: Tax & Spend

Whether one opposes or supports laws that increase the amount government collects from taxpayers in order to spend more on projects and services, including infrastructure, special tax districts for new buildings, and benefit programs for the disadvantaged (e.g., sick, poor, and elderly)

Clinton / CNBC’s Speakeasy (March 7, 2016)
Cruz / TedCruz.org
Kasich / Fox Business Debate (January 14, 2016)
Sanders / BernieSanders.com
Trump / DonaldJTrump.com

If anyone has any problems with our use of this content, or feel any laws have been broken, feel free to contact our co-founder & CEO directly at Adam.Berry@PoliticalBank.com.




Sound off! The State of Politics Today

We’ve been asking fans and followers what they think about the state of politics today. As a nonpartisan organization, it has been really fascinating for us to hear the different points of view, we’re excited about this dialogue. There already seem to be some themes in the feedback we’ve received.

So, penny for your thoughts? Tell us how you feel about the status quo of politics or the 2016 presidential election via Twitter or Facebook, and we’ll add your opinion to this page!




Filing Deadlines for Major Party State & Local Candidates

Want to run for office? Don’t forget to file! Check out our infographic below for a state-by-state rundown of the Republican and Democrat parties’ filing deadlines. Please note they may vary for some towns or municipalities.

Want a PDF version of the dates? We have you covered.

filing3

So what’s PoliticalBank all about? We’re bringing the political process into the 21st century. Learn more.




3 Tips for Raising Your Candidate’s Name ID

http://www.sampratt.com/sam/2011/09/signifying-nothing.html

Guest Post by Joe Garecht from Local Victory:

One of the key goals of any political campaign is to raise the candidate’s “name ID.” This means making sure that as many of the voters in the district as possible know the name of the candidate and the office he or she is running for. It’s impossible to get elected if the voters in your district don’t know who you are.

Here are three surefire tips for raising your candidate’s name ID to help you win your campaign:

#1 – Be Repetitive

The most important thing you can do in order to raise your candidate’s name ID is to repeat your candidate’s name (and the office he or she is running for) as often as possible. Make sure that everything your campaign does, including online and offline activities, direct mail, TV ads, campaign literature, etc. constantly repeats the candidate’s name.

How do you know that you’re doing it the right way? Your campaign materials should be repeating the candidate’s name so often that your volunteers and junior staff members start to wonder whether or not you are saying the candidate’s name too much. Smart campaigns find ways to include the candidate’s name 4-6 times, or more, in a 30 second radio spot. Likewise, campaign e-mails should include the candidate’s name in every paragraph.

The more you get the candidate’s name out in front of the voters, the more likely they are to vote for the candidate on Election Day.

#2 – Be Consistent

Another key for increasing your candidate’s name ID is to make sure you are consistent in how you talk about him or her. I’ve seen lots of campaigns refer to “Mike Smith for Town Council” in their lit pieces, “Michael Smith for Town Council” online, and “Michael R. Smith for Councilor” in their TV ads. This is a big mistake and tends to confuse voters.

Be consistent. It’s hard enough to break through the clutter to get voters to remember your candidate’s name. While you might think it is easy to see the connection between “Mike Smith” and “Michael R. Smith,” remember that your voters are busy… they have jobs, families, and social activities, and aren’t as tuned in to the campaign as you are. Make it easy for them by referring to the candidate and the office he or she is seeking the same way each and every time.

#3 – Be Everywhere

The third and final key for raising your candidate’s name ID is to make sure that your campaign is everywhere, meaning that you are communicating with your voters through as many different mediums as your campaign budget will allow.

Your voters should hear your candidate’s name on their radio, see it online, read about it in snail mail letters, see it on billboards, etc. The more times you can put your candidate’s name in front of the voters in your district, the more likely they are to remember your candidate when they go into the voting booth.

Joe Garecht is a political consultant, author, and the founder of Local Victory, which offers free articles and information on how to win your next election. Check it out at LocalVictory.com


A PoliticalBank profile is an easy way to increase name ID among voters. Learn more >



State by State 2016 Primary and Caucus Schedule [Infographic]

Some states have primaries, some have caucuses, some have one of each! Check out our infographic below to see how they all unfold leading up to Election Day this November.

Want a printable version of the dates? We have you covered.

PoliticalBank-2016Primaries

So what’s PoliticalBank all about? We’re bringing the political process into the 21st century. Learn more.




A 21st Century Solution for Voters and Candidates

We’re only partway through the primary season for the 2016 presidential election, but this year’s race is already a roller coaster. While it’s no surprise that the presidential election garners a lot of attention – after all, the person in the Oval Office is one of the most powerful people in the world – we’re still talking about just one person. It’s easy to forget about all the others we’ll vote for come this November, the ones who represent us at precinct, city, county, district, and state levels. In fact, from school boards to state legislatures, there are over half a million elected officials in our country, and all of them work a lot closer to home than the POTUS.

Photo by Stephanie Rivera

So why is it then, thinking back to the last Election Day in which you participated, you didn’t recognize every name on the ballot facing you? If you went out of your way to be an informed citizen prior to voting, looking up the candidates’ experience and stances on the issues, we applaud you. Approximately 50% of voters consider themselves “informed.” However, we suspect you still didn’t have all the answers you needed – or the time necessary to form opinions – to feel confident about every single mark you made on that ballot.

And that’s not your fault. The truth of the matter is, it’s incredibly difficult as a voter to stay informed about everything at all times, even in this age where information is at our fingertips. With campaign ads, polls, news articles and tweets bombarding us during every waking moment, deciphering where candidates stand on the important issues is nearly impossible, and it’s so easy to slip into apathy or cynicism. Well, we were frustrated about that, so we created PoliticalBank.com. We’re an efficient, centralized way for voters to cut through the noise and seek out politicians’ philosophies.

If you’re an elected official or a candidate, cutting through the noise is difficult too, even for aspiring presidents. How do you not only reach registered voters, but also clearly express to them your ideology? Even if you built a website or gained traction on Facebook, you still have to stave off being defined by your opponents… or the media. We aimed to solve that problem, and it was through decades of experience in politics and listening to hundreds of candidates that we built PoliticalBank: an easy-to-use interactive platform for candidates to communicate transparently with voters, raise money, and increase their chances of winning elections. We’re the only resource you need for fundraising and moving your campaign forward.

If you’re a political junkie like we are, it’s fun to follow the presidential race, but let’s not neglect all the other decisions we have to make this upcoming Election Day for offices at all levels of government. The status quo of our current system is undeniably antiquated, but you can help us bring politics into the 21st century. Sign up as a Voter or Candidate today!