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Writing:Election histories (state legislators)

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This page is a content-and-style guide about how to write sections about the election histories (and current election campaigns) of incumbent state legislators and candidates for state legislature.

The goal of this section is to familiarize your reader with the key facts about the election campaigns the subject of your article has participated in, or is currently participating in.

Desired information


This information should be included for each election you write about:

  • An indented upper link to an overview article about the legislative elections this race was part of, if such an article exists. (See an example.)
  • Exact date of the election
  • Name of the office the candidate sought
  • Name of any general election opponents
  • Who won, who lost
  • Number of votes received by the subject of the article
  • Percentage of votes received by the subject of the article, if available.
  • Number of votes received by any opponents
  • Percentage of votes received by any opponents, if available.

Election sections should use the format referenced here.

The election results information should be supported by a reference link to an official source of information -- preferably, a statement of the vote from a government election office.


That's a basic minimum. You can also, as your time and interest permits, include this information:

  • How much money was spent by the subject of your article, compared to the amount spent by his/her opponent.
  • Information about the primary: Did the subject of your article face primary opposition? You can describe this primary election in the same detail as you describe the general election campaign, covering the same areas.
  • Was the primary or general election an upset?

New boxes

In Fall 2011, new boxes were created for future use in election sections. The usage is as follows.

There is one box template meant for primary elections and one for general elections.

YEAR should be replaced with the year of the election. For example

{{Primary election box 2010

Primary elections

For the explanation of the usage for primary election boxes, see: {{Primary election box/doc}} Copy the following code when making a primary election history box:

{{Primary election box YEAR
|winner1 =
|Inc1 = 
|candidate2 = 
|votes1 = 
|votes2 = 

YEAR should be replaced with the year of the election. For example

{{Election box 2010

General elections

For the explanation of the usage for general election boxes, see: {{Election box/doc}} Copy the following code when making a general election history box:

{{Election box YEAR
|winner1 =
|Inc1 = 
|candidate2 = 
|votes1 = 
|votes2 = 


Section and subsection labels

Your section will look like this, with as many subsection headings as you are prepared to add election information about.





If, at the time you first start adding election information to the article, you are only prepared to write about one election, don't include any subsections. The section can be subdivided into sections, once you have more than one election to report on.


Model sentence

On November 2, 2010, Davis won re-election to District 3 of the Utah State Senate. He was unopposed in the June 22 primary election and defeated Lee Brinton (R) in the general election on November 2, 2010.[1]

Davis raised $40,415 for his campaign, while Probst raised $34,526.[2]

On [[link to page about the elections|Month Day, Year]], "Name of legislator" won re-election to the [[Article on Ballotpedia about the Legislative Chamber in Question]], District ____.

"Subject of article" raised _________ for his campaign, while "Name of opponent" raised $_____.

If you know more than that, and have references for what else you know, go ahead and add it.

2010 election


If the legislator is running for election in 2010, you should include a section that looks like this. You should include in this section:

  • A link to a reference that substantiates that the person is running for re-election.
  • The name of primary opponent(s) if known.
  • The name of general election opponent(s) if known.
  • The date of the primary
  • The date of the general election.
  • An indented upper link to the article about that state's senate or house election of 2010 as in this example.

Primary results

Primary election dates in 2010

If a candidate has primary opposition, this should be reported in the "2010 election" section, along with results of the primary, once those are available. Click here to see when all primary elections in 2010 are scheduled.

When reporting primary results, do not use the vote results boxes that you use when reporting general election results. Rather, report the primary results using a sentence or two.

See Jim Banks for an example.

Not running

If the legislator did not run for re-election in 2010, that information should be mentioned in the article's introduction, with a link to the article about that state's senate or house election of 2010.

Technical skills

You'll need to be able to:

  • Copy-and-paste a template, and fill in the blanks in it after you install it in an article.
  • Add an indented upper link to a section.
  • Find and wiki-link to various articles.
  • Add a reference footnote.

Research requirements

You'll need to be able to:

  • Find official sources of election results.
  • Find information (generally at Follow The Money) about the total amount of money spent by all contenders in this election.