Writing:Succession boxes

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This page is a content-and-style guide about how to add a "succession box" to an article about an incumbent state legislator or a candidate for state legislature.

A succession box is a graphic feature on a page that makes it very easy for a reader to see who came before a particular politician in a particular office, and who came after.


Succession boxes are infinitely expandable. You can keep adding rows to them, depending on how many different political offices the politician you are writing about has held.


The code for a one-level succession box looks like this:

{{start box}}

{{succession box | before = John Doe | title = Idaho Senate District 18 | years = 2004–present | after = NA}}

{{end box}}

The letters in red in the code above indicate the sections you will need to change when you install this code in a different article.

The code for a two-level succession box looks like this:

{{start box}}

{{succession box | before = Cheryl Jacques |title = [[Massachusetts State Senate]] - District 25 | years = 2004–2010 | after = NA}}
{{succession box | before = Paul G. Kirk |title = [[United States Senate]] - [[Massachusetts]] | years = 2010–present | after = NA}}

{{end box}}

Succession boxes with three, four or more levels are built by continuing to add the lines that start with "succession box" before the final {{end box}} line.

How to install

To install a succession box:

  1. Copy the code from the previous section.
  2. Paste it into the section of the article where you want your succession box to appear.
  3. In the third line of the code, make the necessary adjustments:
  • Change the name of the politician from "John Doe" to the name of the politician who served in the office that the subject of your article now holds immediately prior to the time that your politician began his/her service in the office.
  • If you don't know the name of that person, simply delete "John Doe" from the code.
  • Change the name of the office held by the subject of your article from "Idaho Senate District 18" to whatever the name of the relevant office is.
  • Change the part of the code that deals with tenure in office to reflect whatever the facts are with respect to the years that the subject of your article served in this particular office.
  • If the subject of your article is the incumbent, leave the "NA" in the code for the "after" section.
  • If the subject of your article is no longer the incumbent, and has been succeeded in office by someone, enter that person's name in the section of the code for "after."

Complicating Factor

When filling out the year in which a politician assumed his/her Senate seat, insert the year in which they were sworn in, not the year in which they were elected. The exception: in some states, such as California, the politician is sworn in the same year in which they were elected. In this case, the correct year to insert would be the election year, not the year after.


The succession box from the article about Kate Kelly:

Political offices
Preceded by
Sheila A. Sorensen
Idaho Senate District 18
Succeeded by

The succession box from the article about Scott P. Brown:

Political offices
Preceded by
Cheryl Jacques
Massachusetts State Senate - District 25
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Paul G. Kirk
United States Senate - Massachusetts
Succeeded by